The nation mourns the demise of Manohar Parrikar. A mass leader with an unbreakable resolve towards nation building passed away yesterday after his long battle with pancreatic cancer. The gentleman politician as called by many was at the forefront of many development programs in Goa notably the Griha Aadhar and Ladli Laxmi schemes. Shri Parrikar, who took over the reins as the Goa Chief Minister for the first time in 2000, was considered the major factor in the formation of the BJP led Government after the 2017 state assembly elections in Goa.
Known for his reach and respect across party lines, Manohar Parrikar resigned from the Union Government where he served as the Defence Minister (November 2014 to March 2017) to manage the complex coalition government in the state. The 2017 state elections saw BJP getting a broken mandate with just 13 seats of the total 40 seats in the Goa Legislative Assembly. The Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) together with two Independent MLA’s came forward to support the BJP led government only on the precondition of Parrikar being the Chief Minister.
Manohar Parrikar was successful in getting together different parties on the same page to work forward towards a stable government in Goa. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the February of 2018, speculations about the feasibility of the coalition were making rounds of the political circles, since most coalition partners had only extended their support on the basis of Parrikar being the CM. In and out of hospitals since last year for his treatment, Parrikar showed strong resolve towards his duty for the state, till his last days he was seen working in his capacity as the CM for the welfare of the people of Goa.
Substantiating the indispensability of Parrikar in the Goa politics was Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Dipak Dhavalikar who said “Crisis has not begun yet. The crisis in the government will happen after Manohar Parrikar.” The strength of Goa Assembly had reduced from forty to thirty-seven after the demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and the resignation of Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, who represented Shiroda and Mandrem seats, respectively. The strength of Goa Assembly now stands at just thirty-six after the death of the Chief Minister. BJP’s tally after the loss of two members now just stands at eleven in the Goa Legislative Assembly, which after the loss of Parrikar, who acted as a binding force for the coalition, poses a political challenge for the party to prove its majority in the assembly.
With his unbroken spirit, even after being seriously ill, Manohar Parrikar was managing the coalition and governance related issues in the state from his hospital bed in AIIMS and the ground, Parrikar was on a number of occasions seen working with medical aids. The loss of Manohar Parrikar is a huge setback for the people of Goa and especially the BJP. Loss of a tall leader, just a few weeks before of the 2019 general elections has essentially impacted BJP’s electoral plans in the state.
With the next assembly elections due in 2022, by-elections for the four vacant assembly seats is scheduled for the Panaji, Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa assembly constituencies on April 23.