Manohar Parrikar is set to take oath as the Chief Minister of Goa today even as the Supreme Court ordered that a floor test be held on Thursday, March 16. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at 5 pm today in Panaji. After days of hectic political developments, state Governor Mridula Sinha had appointed Parrikar as the CM. The move left Congress peeved and they had filed a petition against the decision in the Supreme Court. During an ‘urgent’ hearing, the apex court disposed the petition filed by the party, saying all issues raised in it can be resolved by simple direction of holding floor test. Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar, who had managed to pull off the coup and catapult BJP to such a position, is a multifaceted personality and one of the most admired politicos of India.
Chief Ministerial credentials
Parrikar served as the Chief Minister of the state in three terms — 2000-2002, and 2002-2005 and later from March 2012 till November 2014. Parrikar, who took the BJP to victory in the 2012 Goa assembly polls, had resigned as the Chief Minister and took over as Defence Minister on November 9, 2014.
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An IIT-Mumbai graduate in metallurgical engineering and among the first members of BJP in Goa, 59-year-old Parrikar has been instrumental in raising the profile of his party from its just four members in the State Assembly in 1994 to its present status as a ruling party with the highest number of seats. Parrikar, who is also known for his blunt talk and development initiatives, got the first taste of power in the State in 2000 when he was elected the Chief Minister, becoming the first IITian to head a State Government. He also has an image of being an organised taskmaster.
Taskmaster and close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi
An unassuming man, Parrikar, who had launched a campaign against the Congress-led government on the issue of illegal mining in the state, emerged as the rallying point for anti-Congress sentiments. He was the first BJP chief minister who had publicly said last year that Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat Chief Minister, should be the face of the party in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Parrikar is considered as a confidante of Modi and stood by him during the party’s decision at a key BJP meet in Goa naming the Gujarat strongman as campaign in-charge last year. His controversial Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report bringing to fore the illegal mining led to a major investigation by Justice M B Shah commission into iron ore extraction activity in the State.
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From a RSS pracharak to a Union Minister, technocrat-turned politician Parrikar is known for his administrative acumen and clean image to leave an indelible mark on the politics of the tiny state.
Armed with the party’s populist manifesto during his third stint in 2012, Parrikar cut down the prices of petrol in the State by almost Rs. 11 per litre, the move which made him most a popular chief minister overnight. Social security schemes like Grih Adhar (providing monthly income for housewives) and Ladli Lakshmi (giving financial help for marriage of girl child) cemented his popularity in the State.
At the same time, Parrikar earned the ire of his opponents for failing to redress issues like stoppage of mining and shifting of off shore casinos away from River Mandovi near Panaji.
A RSS pracharak from Goa, Parrikar’s electoral debut was unsuccessful when he was defeated by Congress candidate Harish Zantye in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls.
He was first elected to the second legislative assembly of Goa in 1994. Later, he rose to become the Leader of Opposition from June to November 1999. Parrikar became the Chief Minister for the first time on October 24, 2000, but his tenure lasted only till February 27, 2002. On June 5, 2002, he was re-elected and became the Chief Minister again.
On January 29, 2005, his Government was reduced to a minority in the Assembly after four BJP MLAs resigned from the House. However, Parrikar proved his majority in the House next month. In 2007, the Parrikar-led BJP was defeated in the Goa state elections by the Congress-led by Digambar Kamat, a former BJP leader.
Parrikar is a widower after having lost his wife in 2001. He has two sons.
(With agency inputs)