BJP's Poster Boy In Goa Manohar Parrikar Returns As Chief Minister

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BJP's Poster Boy In Goa Manohar Parrikar Returns As Chief Minister

Manohar graduated to the BJP from the RSS ranks.

Panaji:  For Manohar Parrikar, the BJP's poster boy in Goa, it's a homecoming and another stint as chief minister of the coastal state. Despite failing to secure a simple majority in the assembly polls, the BJP managed to successfully stitch an alliance with two regional parties besides gaining the support of two Independents.

Right from the start of campaigning in the state, the BJP had sent across a subtle message that if it wins, the government would be headed by Mr Parrikar.

Enjoying a man-next-door image in the state, even while holding a major portfolio like Defence at the Centre, 61-year-old Parrikar led the BJP's campaign from the front, though the party failed to hit the half-way mark of 21 in the 40-member house.

A metallurgical engineer from IIT Bombay, Mr Parrikar, in post-poll days, displayed immense political skill in outsmarting the single largest party Congress in number games by forging a coalition winning over the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP).

Born in a middle class business family in Mapusa in north Goa, Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar graduated to the BJP from the RSS ranks.

He joined the RSS in his school days and always held that the ideology and training he received from the organisation greatly helped him in public life, most importantly in decision-making.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hand-picked him as the Defence Minister in November 2014, has often lavished praises on Mr Parrikar for his dedication and hard work, especially in the context of the surgical strike last year.

Mr Parrikar was first elected to the Goa Assembly in 1994. He served as he leader of the opposition from June to November 1999.

In a state known for political swings as well as rise and fall of ministries, Mr Parrikar's first stint as chief minister was from October 24, 2000 to February 27, 2002. He had his next term at the top slot in the state from June 5, 2002 to January 29, 2005.

In 2012, he successfully led the BJP to power and became the chief minister for the third time, which lasted until November 2014 when he was made Defence Minister. Mr Parrikar as the party's choice this time round was broadly hinted by the BJP leaders including Nitin Gadkari during the run-up, saying a leader from Delhi could be called to head the state after the polls.

Mr Parrikar, who often faced criticism from detractors for airdashing to Goa every weekend, also did not hide his wish to return to his home state.

The party leaders also vouched that the BJP's manifesto and campaign strategy was scripted under Parrikar's guidance, restricting Laxmikant Parsekar, who succeeded him as chief minister, to his constituency of Mandrem, which he failed to defend.

Mr Parrikar criss-crossed the entire Goa, promising continuation of the developmental works the BJP government initiated and sought a clear mandate, stressing political stability was essential to steer the state to progress.

A leader who enjoys acceptance from all sections of the BJP and beyond, he has played key role in making the party a force to reckon with in Goa, which remained for long a Congress bastion, with regional outfits having pockets of influence.

Mr Parrikar, whose wife died in 2001, has two sons-- Utpal and Abhijit.

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