He served Goa till his last breath
Sunday saw a mournful evening with the demise of Manohar Parrikar. He was serving as Chief Minister of Goa for a final time when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer that he had been battling for over a year. Last February, the minister was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and went under treatment in different cities including New York. Towards his last, at 63, his condition had turned severely critical. Leaders from across party lines poured in their grief, condolences, and tributes for the deceased – the minister was a greatly admired and endeared leader of Goa and had an impeccable reputation in his service, simple lifestyle, and was an approachable scooter-riding Chief Minister of the people of Goa. In spite of unstable condition over the past months, he held office and functioned to a tremendous extent, made public appearances where necessary and even presented the state budget. Seen with a nasal tube and frail health, Parrikar's dedication to duty was not spared from turning into a petty matter of accusation by the opposition party as a method to extract any possible chance of saving the BJP government in the state by displaying him. Notwithstanding such adverse inputs, Parrikar continued to serve for as long as his ailing health permitted. The tenth CM of Goa had served in this capacity thrice before but never completed a full term. Adding another feather to his hat was his stint as the Defense Minister, also one with an admirable legacy he left behind. The seasoned politician and a technocrat by qualification, he was never reluctant to learn and was ever ready to devote his time away from Delhi visiting military organisations and interacting with officers and troops. Among the first issues he worked to address was the lying-in-limbo One Rank One Pension matter of veterans. Parrikar's involvement brought substantial achievement and had a positive impact on a large number of veterans. As much as his last stint as Chief Minister of Goa was formidable, his death has entailed a massive political churning in the state. The coalition allies that he brought together on board after the 2017 assembly election are growing apart and seem to be having second thoughts now; Congress has staked claim to the government, claiming BJP no longer commands majority. Goa Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant is the next Chief Minister of the state. Goa Forward Party Chief Vijai Sardesai and Mahatashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar are the deputy chief ministers. The swearing-in ceremony was held at 9 pm on Monday. In January, Parrikar had portended that "I will serve Goa till my last breath". So he did, true to his word. His legacy must live.