Who is Laxmikant Parsekar?

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Who is Laxmikant Parsekar?

Laxmikant Parsekar started out as a volunteer of the RSS.

Panaji:  Laxmikant Parsekar, who had rebelled against his family to contest on a BJP ticket while fighting his first Assembly election in 1988, has reaped the reward for his loyalty to the party with his election as Chief Minister of Goa. (Laxmikant Parsekar Sworn-In as Goa Chief Minister)

The 58-year-old leader, who has a strong connection to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is the 22nd Chief Minister of the politically volatile state and the 12th person to hold the post.
Branded a 'rebel', Mr Parsekar started his political journey in the 1980s, treading a path that his family strongly disapproved of when he had his first tryst with elections in 1988 from Mandrem constituency as a BJP candidate.

His family was a staunch supporter of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which was then a politically powerful regional outfit.

He was pitted against Ramakant Khalap, an influential politician in the state polity, and lost.
Mr Parsekar's decision to contest as a candidate of the BJP, then a virtual  non-entity in the coastal state, was received with shock by his family and the village, an MGP stronghold.

"I had almost packed my bag and left the house as my family refused to digest the fact that I am contesting against MGP candidate Ramakant Khalap. It was in the year 1988 when BJP was hardly known in the state. I was looked upon as a rebel," Mr Parsekar told PTI.

A postgraduate in science, Mr Parsekar initially took up a teaching job and started out as an RSS volunteer in Pernem taluka.

He began working for the BJP in late 1980s and was instrumental in building the party's support base along with veterans like Manohar Parrikar, Rajendra Arlekar, now Goa Assembly Speaker, and Sripad Naik, Union Minister for Tourism.

"I lost miserably from Mandrem in 1988. My entire family rooted for MGP. Even one of the trucks used by the MGP candidate for campaigning was owned by my father," said Parsekar, who was Health Minister in the Parrikar government.

But he lost again in the Assembly polls in 1999.

By then, the BJP had become an established player in the coastal state, notorious for political volatility and defections, which often led to toppling of governments.

"My only consolation was that I managed to save my deposit," Mr Parsekar said.

Undeterred by the setback, he again contested the Assembly election in 2002 and emerged a giant killer, defeating MGP's Ramakant by a wafer-thin margin of 750 votes.

There has been no looking back for Mr Parsekar ever since.

In 2007, he doubled his victory margin and was re-elected in 2012 when the BJP posted a remarkable victory, winning 21 of the 40 Assembly seats.

It was a landmark election as after a long time, a party had won a clear majority in the Assembly, fuelling hopes of political stability.

Mr Parsekar, who then headed the Goa unit of the BJP, was rewarded with a Cabinet berth in the BJP-MGP coalition government led by Mr Parrikar.

Mr Parsekar's unflinching loyalty to the BJP and strong RSS links saw him quell a challenge from Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza and take over the CM's chair.

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