Every once in a while you come across a political leader that you admire.
Manohar Parrikar is one such leader in my eyes.
I have known him as a journalist for the last several years, even before I moved my office base to Goa.
He has always intrigued me with his knowledge and memory.
To suffer from pancreatic cancer is a terrible misfortune but Parrikar has fought it bravely and continues to fight it.
To see him in this state of illness is hurtful to most people in India who admire him but to see him fight back with every determination in his mind, fortitude in his heart and strength in his body is an inspiration to us Indians.
His act of defiance against his illness highlights the simple fact that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I have always maintained that politics in Goa is driven by charisma of political leaders.
Over the last decade and more Parrikar has tactfully, ruthlessly and unflinchingly positioned himself as the political leader to respect and fear.
He is intelligent, arguably arrogant but extremely focussed on his visions.
At most times many people, including his own people, do not understand the method to his madness.
Parrikar is not a man driven by money. He is a man driven by this innate desire to be remembered as someone who made Goa a world-class socio-economic destination.
It is very unfortunate that many in the opposition during this recovery phase chose to poke fun at him on social media or in the corridors of political gossip.
It is even more unfortunate that some leaders in the BJP, who are a part of his own close circle, people whom he has nurtured; had attempted to unseat him, in their desire to occupy the Chief Minister’s position after being brainwashed by alliance wheeler-dealers and some in the opposition.
However, each time an attempt is made to retire Parrikar on account of his illness, he bounces back with sheer grit.
Congress fails to understand the political acumen and astuteness of Parrikar.
Congress behaves like a bunch of kids with a new toy. They however fail to read the toy manual or character traits before playing the game.
Even the Congress president Rahul Gandhi assumed he could rattle Parrikar and score some brownie points with what he called a personal courtesy visit at the Chief Minister’s office in the Goa Secretariat.
Interestingly some BJP leaders and some ministers in the government, who form the coterie of vultures wanting to snatch power positions, in case one would need to change ships with Congress, if Parrikar decides to throw in the towel in his CM’s position, started to hail Rahul Gandhi’s act as a lesson in humility and simplicity.
It only took a few hours, later, when Rahul Gandhi opened his mouth in Kochi to lie that Parrikar spoke to him about the Rafale deal and he claimed Parrikar stated that he had nothing to do with deal, it was Modi’s decision; that the real diabolic nature of the Congress president was exposed.
Those BJP, Congress and alliance leaders canonising Rahul Gandhi had to hide their face the sand on Calangute beach and fields of Fatorda; and eventually come out with absurd press statements.
Parrikar exposed Rahul Gandhi’s intent to misuse his courtesy visit to play petty politics over his ill-health.
Goa and India erupted against Congress and Rahul Gandhi.
Social media took the Congress president to the cleaners. And TV channels likes TimesNow and Republic slammed Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi got exposed for the liar that he is by Parrikar through a detailed letter expressing his disappointment at Rahul’s insensitive behaviour.
Rahul Gandhi tried to attempt a clarification instead chose to further insult Parrikar’s integrity by stating that Parrikar has to attack him because his party compulsions are forcing him to protect Prime Minister Modi.
Smriti Irani has described Rahul Gandhi’s behaviour diplomatically and perfectly, “He is congenital liar’.
To me Rahul Gandhi is a deranged man. Not worthy the legacy he has inherited off the Gandhi name, family and political position.
He is as I said on the Republic TV debate, “Is a nobody. A dynast.”
Parrikar is not someone to be treated with disdain and callously. He cannot be taken for granted.
Parrikar is a man of strong integrity, impressive intelligence and rock solid vision. But most of all he is a good man.
The commitment of Parrikar and the complete confidence of Amit Shah in Parrikar’s determination to fulfil his vision for Goa is the driving force for him to fight his terminal illness.
Parrikar must be alert of the snakes in his own coterie.
He also needs to be wary of the blackmailing alliance partners and learn to trust his BJP loyalists more.
Goa needs a political leader like Parrikar at this stage.
The state needs a leader who can set in motion a vision of a better tomorrow for Goa and not someone who is driven by a vision of better tomorrow for the coffers.
So my message to those in Congress that poke fun at him in particular the President of the Congress party Rahul Gandhi: Walk a day in Parrikar’s shoes, it will be a learning of lifetime for you, a learning no one in your coterie will ever teach you, because they are not leaders but slaves.
No one is perfect. Neither is Parrikar. But one can sift the good selfless political leaders from the selfish leaders.
#RespectParrikar for he is undoubtedly one of the best the Goan soil has produced and gifted to Bharat Mata.