It is with great interest I read a recent blog on IBNLive.com ‘Goa CM flies the way you and I do’ which portrayed the humane side of Parrikar devoid of any ministerial airs. And I am surprised that people are surprised about it, because this is Manohar Parrikar whether CM or not.
My first instance of a meeting with Parrikar was way back in 2000, when I was just a senior reporter with a national news organization and was on my visit to Goa for a tourism related convention. We met briefly and then we were supposed to meet for lunch the following day. I turned up at the CM’s residence and he left for a meeting and left a message with the guards apologizing for the change of plans. I was furious at him and even hurled abuses in my mind to him but then he was the Chief Minister of the state and I was a mere senior reporter.
I next bumped into Parrikar in 2010, when I went to introduce my new media venture in Goa to him and invite him for the launch. He at once remembered me. He said, “I don’t remember your name, but I know you are a journalist with the Indian Express’. I was stunned. Considering I now sported a French beard and had certainly put on loads of weight in ten years. But he remembered. So told him, Mr Parrikar, I suppose from today you will remember my name as well. I was just being prophetic, because now he does remember my name.
Over the two years I have been in Goa, I have interacted with the CM numerous times face-to-face and on the phone. We collaborated on numerous issues like the mining scam expose, PWD scam expose and SEZ scam expose, wherein we shared some interesting points of view. Especially, I remember on the SEZ scam where I pointed out to him, that the Delta Corp – the casino company was linked to three front companies who had were allotted the plots in the SEZ scam it was a part of expose on the SEZ scam. He even called me to say that it was good investigations into the issue.
I remember the discussion we had over lunch at Konkan restaurant in Panjim, where I picked him up from the Secretariat, he sat in my car and said let’s go. Our topic was on the drugs issue. He seemed passionate about tackling the menace but was also cautious because being a part of the Opposition he might not have the power to do much to curb it. No he has the power to do something about it.
We have also got on each other nerves. My constant pestering of wanting to speak to him on issues have irritated him and his constant lack of time or change of schedule have annoyed me; even now we are suppose to meet on the ‘Drug Menace Issue in Goa’ and the setting up of task force and while he has told me to come and meet him anytime. He has not been able to find the time for the last 15 days.
The point I am trying to make is that Parrikar is human and we can have a friendship with him, just as a friendship we have with any other friend. Just because he has become the CM, it would be foolish to expect him to change his ways of doing things, because realistically speaking he would be very uncomfortable.
Even today if you noticed, he seems quite shy when on camera or when praised about something. But roars like a lion when pouncing on some illegality on television.
Parrikar is best in his element. And his element is when he goes after his dreams. And his dream is for a BETTER GOA – a dream where Goans return back and work towards the welfare and growth of Goa, a dream where every single Goan is educated to face a globally competitive world with losing sight of his Goan roots, a dream where Goans are economically growing and socially uplifted with better tourism, healthcare, education and social services.
He could care less about how he looks, dresses and what mode of transport he travels by as long as he is comfortable and his appearance is not shabby. His interest is ensuring most of his work gets done in time and he moves on to the next challenging thing.
Even the Opposition party Congress now have been reduced to mere spectators because they know trying to match wits and intelligence with such a man in power, will be asking for trouble. And trouble for them will come with the Goa Lokayukta.
If Parrikar walks the fine line between the normal allegations of being RSS mindset driven and his secular outlook to life and governance, he would be able to bring about a change of image for BJP across the country. And I wish he does that because in today’s India as much as many politicians including the ones in the secular Congress party often stroke the communal tension, people are getting over this disease and looking at the bigger picture of growth and welfare.
It is great to see someone in political attire be so different from the rest of the ministers we had in Goa and across the country but it is not surprising when it comes to Parrikar because that is just Parrikar. And because he does not see himself as a politician or a Chief Minister but the Chief Executive Officer of a highly potential conglomerate – Goa and he intends to get maximum performance of his senior team and other colleagues of the ‘Goa Conglomerate’ which are the people of Goa. We are all part of this Goa Conglomerate and his performance is as important as ours.
Many might yet not understand some of his decisions. I for one do not agree with his decision on the Casino entry fee, he has his logic but does not agree with mine. Even his handling of the illegal mining scam seems a bit strange because the main culprits are the big mining companies but we hear not about that even from him but a look at his PAC report says otherwise.
But with all the questions that are raised on some of these critical issues, he is the best CEO could get.
Mr Parrikar, I am sure you will be reading this. When do we do lunch again? We need to have some serious discussions…