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Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar dead after prolonged illness

The former Union defence minister had been suffering from cancer; his condition turned “extremely critical” on Sunday

SNS | New Delhi |

Goa Chief Minister and former Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was suffering from cancer and had been in a critical condition for some time, passed away in Panaji on Sunday evening. He was 63.

Diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February 2018, Parrikar had been since in and out of hospitals. He underwent treatment in New York, Mumbai and Goa hospitals, and was brought to AIIMS in Delhi last year. His condition turned “extremely critical” on Sunday, the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted.

“Chief Minister @manoharparrikar’s health condition is extremely critical. Doctors are trying their best,” the Goa CMO tweeted.

Parrikar had been on life support system since late Saturday night, according to reports.

Quoting a senior state government official, a PTI report said: “Chief Minister passed away around 6.40 pm Sunday.”

Parrikar is survived by two sons and their families.

President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his grief over the passing away of Manohar Parrikar.

“Extremely sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa, after an illness borne with fortitude and dignity. An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten,” he said in a tweet.

BJP leader Suresh Prabhu too took to Twitter to express grief.

“Extremely saddened by the untimely demise of my good friend Manohar Parrikar ji. An epitome of impeccable integrity, a down to earth personality, the first IITian to become CM of a state, great son of India gone too soon… RIP my dear friend…” he posted.

Earlier in the day, relatives of the ailing CM, senior government officials and political leaders visited his private residence in Dona Paula. Director General of Police Pranab Nanda was also there among the visitors, and police deployment had been increased around the house.

Parrikar headed a coalition government in Goa, supported by the Goa Forward Party (GFP), the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP), and three Independent lawmakers.

On Saturday, as several party leaders and allies rushed to meet him, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo had said doctors examining the ailing Goa CM weren’t saying he would recover. He also said there would be no leadership change in the BJP-led coalition government as long as Parrikar was alive.

“Parrikar is very ill since last night. Doctors who are examining him aren’t saying that he will recover…” Lobo said, after attending a meeting of BJP MLAs at the party’s state headquarters here.

“…we are praying to God that he should recover. But there are no chances of recovery,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Congress staked claim to form government in the state.

In a letter to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha on Saturday, Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar, the Leader of Opposition in the 40-member state assembly, said the Parrikar government had lost majority following the demise of BJP MLA Francis D’Souza.

In January, Parrikar had said he “will serve Goa till my last breath”. The four-time CM had made public appearances in recent months with a tube in his nose. He looked frail.

Presenting the state budget of the Goa assembly, he had said: “Present circumstances have prevented me from delivering a detailed budget speech, but there is a josh that is too high, very high and I am in hosh. Fully in hosh.”

He had a tube in his nose also when he inaugurated a bridge in Goa earlier this year. However, a spirited Parrikar shouted the famous line from blockbuster “Uri: The Surgical Strike” — “How’s the josh?” — and drew loud cheers.

It was Parrikar who was the Defence Minister in 2016 when India, days after the terror attack at Uri base camp in Jammu and Kashmir, conducted a surgical strike on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.