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Manohar Parrikar's gaffe-filled journey from defence ministry to Chief Minister's Office

Manohar Parrikar is no stranger to controversy. In fact, several of these controversies were born out of the Goa chief minister's inability to remain politically correct.

Last week, he attracted ridicule after saying he was worried about women consuming alcohol. "I have begun to fear now because even the girls have started drinking beer. The tolerance limit is being crossed," said Parrikar, whose coastal state is one of the country's most sought-after tourist destinations.

While he later clarified that his remarks were directed not at all women but only at girls who consume alcohol despite being underage, it was far too late. Parrikar was slammed on social media by several women who posted their images as well as short videos with beer under the hashtag GirlsWhoDrinkBeer.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

That issue barely died down when Parrikar courted controversy again by appearing to back Cabinet colleague Vijay Sardesai, who'd called domestic tourists visiting Goa "scum of the earth", while another colleague Manohar Ajgaonkar threatened to "chase away" tourists who don't take care of Goan culture and Goanness.

However, while the BJP leaders were widely censured on social media, Parrikar refused to criticise them. "He should not have used harsh words, but logically he was not wrong. Politicians have to be careful while making statements," he was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Parrikar's spate of controversial remarks came as especially surprising considering the (relatively) low profile the Goa chief minister maintained of late. Not too long ago, Parrikar kept making news for all the wrong reasons. When in charge of the defence ministry — a portfolio he managed for two years before quitting the role to become chief minister of Goa — his off-the-cuff remarks and politically incorrect statements kept him hitting headlines.

For instance, when Aamir Khan said in 2016 that he feared the country was becoming intolerant, Parrikar said, without directly referring to the actor, that 'such people' need to be "taught a lesson"

"One actor said his wife wants to live out of India. It was an arrogant statement. If I am poor and my house is small, but I have to love my house and always dream to make a bungalow out of it. Such people who speak against the country need to be taught a lesson by the people of this country," Parrikar said.

And it didn't end there. Two months later, he said he'd ordered the Indian Armed Forces to shoot at anybody possessing an AK-47. "I gave instructions to the armed forces personnel to shoot at anyone possessing an AK-47 machine gun as it is obvious that they do not have any good intentions," he said.

Parrikar found it hard to keep controversy at bay even when he wasn't speaking. In 2017, during the Republic Day parade, he had one job as defence minister: Sit still and watch. And perhaps applaud when the situation demanded it. He didn't do it very well, falling asleep midway through the parade. From defence minister to being chief minister, Parrikar has clearly come a long way. But his penchant for gaffes has followed him.


Published Date: Feb 15, 2018 14:46 PM | Updated Date: Feb 15, 2018 14:46 PM

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