Parrikar, the technocrat-turned politician with admin skills

Parrikar, the technocrat-turned politician with admin skills

Parrikar, the technocrat-turned politician with admin skills

From a RSS pracharak to a Union Minister, technocrat-turned politician Manohar Gopalkrishna Parrikar, a three-time Goa Chief Minister, is known for his administrative acumen and clean image to leave an indelible mark on the politics of the tiny state.

A Mumbai IIT 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 state assembly in 1994 to its present status as a ruling party with the highest number of seats in the state assembly.

Spearheaded by Parrikar, BJP won 21 out of 40 seats in the 2012 Assembly polls. He was sworn in as chief minister in March 2012.

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 party’s decision at a key BJP meet in Goa naming the Gujarat strongman as campaign incharge last year.

At the same time, Parrikar caused a flutter in BJP with remarks that the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat were a "blot" on Modi's career though he was not personally part of it.

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.

As a Leader of Opposition, he took on the Congress party to highlight alleged acts of irregularities.

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.

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 popular chief minister overnight.

The 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 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 in the 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 had said the riots were an administrative failure but defended Modi citing his inexperience.

The Goa chief minister was tipped to be part of the Modi government when it took office on May 26  but he had apparently  refused to join.

Parrikar had said that he would not like to jump into national politics and that he would rather retire from Goa.

Parrikar is a widower after having lost his wife 12 years ago. He was two sons both of whom are married.