Goa chief minister and one of the senior BJP leaders Manohar Parrikar passed away on Sunday. He was 63 years old and battled a serious pancreatic ailment.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind announced his demise on Twitter saying:
"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."
One of the senior most and respectable leaders in the political arena, Parrikar was an alumnus from IIT Bombay before he stepped foot into politics.
The four-time CM enjoyed great popularity and respect among his supporters and his rivals. He enjoyed a man-next-door image in the politically-volatile coastal state. He was also well known as an organised taskmaster.
He began his career in politics as an RSS pracharak and he continued working for the Sangh even after graduating from IIT Bombay.
He was first elected into Goa Assembly in 1994 when he won on a BJP ticket from Panaji constituency.
He was one of the first members of BJP in Goa and has been credited in changing the party's fortune in the state. The BJP which earlier had only four members in the state unit rose to its present dominance thanks to his work for the party.
He was leader of the Opposition from June to November 1999 and was known for his speeches against the then Congress-led government.
His rallying point against the then predominant Congress was the issue of illegal mining.
He first became the chief minister of Goa in 2000 and was the first IITian to head a state. He was in the post for two years.
In the elections which followed in 2002, he was re-elected, but had to step down in 2005 after his government lost the majority.
On January 29, 2005, his government was reduced to a minority in the assembly after four BJP MLAs resigned from the House.
Manohar Parrikar then began his third term as Goa CM in 2012 after his party won the state elections. He took his party to the historic number of 21 out of 40 seats in the assembly.
As per reports, he was the first minister to publicly say in 2013 that then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi should be made face of the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
He held the post for two years, before stepping down to take over as the Defence Minister from Arun Jaitley, who took over as the Finance Minister.
It was under his term as the Defence Minister when the first known surgical strike against Pakistan-backed terror under the present government was conducted in 2016.
During his time as the Minister of Defence, Parrikar was credited with improving the sector through his diligent decision-making ability. He ceded his position to become the Goa CM again after BJP formed a coalition government in the state following elections in 2017.
He returned to the state in March 2017 when he managed to woo alliance partners such as Goa Forward Party and MGP to support him to form the government. He managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the first past the post race as Congress had won the required number of votes to form the government.
Parrikar's health started deteriorating in early 2018. Even as he fought the illness, he continued his duty towards the state till last breath.
Goa's CM will be known for his dedication for the state he loved, a true statesman without a VIP hang-up and as a politician respected by friends and foes.
(With inputs from PTI)