I have admired Manohar Parrikar as a politician and as a person ever since I met him in 2002 as a fledging reporter working with the Indian Express.
Eight years after that first encounter I met him again in 2010, when I relocated my business to Goa and was planning to launch GoaChronicle.com.
Even after eight years with no communication at all, when I entered his office, he looked at me, smiled and said, “What brings you to Goa”.
I was touched that he remembered who I was. His encouraging words to pursue my intent of doing business in Goa was one of the driving forces for me to pursue my entrepreneurial vision in Goa.
Over the years we have interacted on numerous issues and at times we have disagreed on some issues. Each interaction has been learning for me.
I was told and many continue to tell me that Parrikar is an arrogant, stubborn and vindictive as a person and politician. He has never ever done anything for Goa. He is an RSS-man. He is communal.
So I thought that I would share my opinion of Parrikar as a person and politician from my own personal experience.
I fondly remember an incident, when I had a meeting with him regarding a story I was researching on. I arrived at his office post 1.30pm.
He looked at me and asked me ‘if I had lunch’, I said no.
So he started walking out of his office, turns towards me and says, “let’s go, call for your car, we will drive to Panjim and have lunch at a nice Goan restaurant.”
When my car arrived, he got into the front seat of my car, with my driver being shocked beyond words and nervous as hell.
We drove to a nice little restaurant, ate lunch and chatted for a good 45 mins.
When the bill came, he did not allow me to pay for the bill. We got back into my car and I dropped him back to his office.
That afternoon left me spell-bound at the man’s simplicity and humility.
When people say Manohar Parrikar is arrogant, stubborn and unapproachable, I find that hard to believe.
In another incident, I had written a negative article about a BJP leader. I was told that the BJP leader went to Parrikar to complain about a media person like me to fix me. I learned from my sources in Parrikar’s office that the BJP leader got a firing for complaining about the article rather than correcting himself for the negative act mentioned in the article.
When people say Manohar Parrikar is corrupt, power hungry, against Christian, I find that hard to believe.
Parrikar is a patriot. Deep within him is an immense desire to leave a mark in Goa and India that generation to come will remember him for his contribution to the nation. His vision has always been for a progressive Goa with clean, good governance.
There is no doubt that along the way in his political career, he has made several mistakes. He may have not completed some promises due to various reasons or political compulsions. But some failures cannot make us blind to the potential, integrity and commitment this political leader has for Goa and India.
I am convinced beyond doubt that Parrikar is not in politics for the money. He has never been and will never be. Neither is he in that position for power and fame. If that was so, he would have been sitting in Delhi with the Defence Ministry portfolio. The man is simple; possess immense intellect, fortitude and conviction to take Goa Forward.
Goa needs a forward thinking leader who governs with an iron fist. Political leaders in the state respect and fear him. He is a leader that can make Goa a global economic destination.
Some members of the Congress and even the Church in Goa have been running negative propaganda against Parrikar and BJP. Some have gone to the extent of saying that the corrupt Congress leaders are better than communal Parrikar. Such is the vile in their minds and hearts. So each time some people spread negativity of Parrikar, Parrikar keeps moving forward with positive encouragement from Goans and Indians who work towards a better Goa.
I am glad leaders like Vijai Sardesai, Vishwajit Rane, Atanasio Monserrate, Rohan Khaunte, Sudin Dhavlikar and many more non-BJP politicians are working with Parrikar to take Goa Forward.
Towards a Better Goa we strive…