PM Narendra Modi handpicked Goa’s super CM Manohar Parrikar for the all-important Defence Minister post, and since then there has been nothing but praise coming in for the man of the hour. Take a look at 9 things you may not know about him.
1. He has a signature look
You’ll never find him without his trademark half-sleeved bush shirt, creased trousers and simple footwear. And we mean never! Case in point, his son’s wedding where he welcomed guests in the same attire.
2. He refused to let personal tragedy come in the way of work
About a month before his swearing-in as the first-time chief minister of Goa, Parrikar’s wife Medha succumbed to cancer. That left Parrikar with the responsibilities of running the state while being a single parent to his two teenage boys. But he put up a brave front and got about discharging his duties as CM.
3. He doesn’t care for sarkaari benefits
Even after becoming CM, Parrikar continued living in his own modest house and didn’t upgrade to a fancier vehicle, preferring instead to keep using the Innova he was allotted as leader of the opposition.
4. He’s the real poster boy for aam aadmis
Parrikar always travels in economy class and pays for personal calls from his own pocket. He doesn’t entertain the VVIP treatment meted out to netas. He is famous for using a rickshaw and public transport like a regular person, especially outside Goa.
5. He’s a workaholic
One of the many traits he shares with PM Modi is his penchant for keeping a punishing schedule of 16-18 work hours every day. For a 58 year old man, that’s pretty impressive.
6. He is a taskmaster
…who doesn’t tolerate corruption and is blunt in his dealings. He took on the illegal mining in Goa with gusto, handing out suspensions and cancelling licenses of rogue traders. His clean governance motto leaning saw him suspending block development officers, panchayat secretaries and lower-rank staff. No wonder this squeaky clean CM was branded Goa’s Mr Clean.
His image took a beating, and he was dubbed a ‘U-turn’ CM by the media and Congress when he failed to deliver on poll promises, flip-flopped on important issues and failed to root out the mining mafia completely.
7. He has some famous IIT batch mates
Nobody stops talking about his engineering degree from IIT Bombay. But not many know that this metallurgical engineering graduate shared hostel space with technocrat Nandan Nilekani in 1978.
8. He has RSS roots
Parrikar joined the RSS at a very young age, even looking after the Powai hostel unit of RSS. He has often expressed pride of his RSS background. The RSS loves him back equally, even considering him for the post of BJP president, before appointing Nitin Gadkari. His RSS roots helped strike a saffron chord with PM Modi and Amit Shah. Look what this did for his political career!
9. He has sharp political foresight
Long before anybody could foresee the Modi wave, Parrikar openly backed Modi to be BJP’s choice for PM, becoming the first party functionary to do so. He also branded old soul and Modi opposer L K Advani “a rancid pickle”. His Modi loyalty seems to have been rewarded and how.