Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday tore into Aam Aadmi Party which is trying to make inroads into Goa ahead of Assembly polls, saying "some people are eyeing Goa after looting Delhi" even as he virtually compared the Arvind Kejriwal-led party with "monsoon grass".
"Some people in Delhi are upset with my frequent visits to Goa because they fear that I will upset their ambitions to win elections in this state. After looting Delhi, they are now eyeing Goa," Parrikar said without naming AAP during a civic reception function to mark 60th birthday of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
The ex-CM further added that most of the major developments which took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political career graph have a Goa connection. "The announcement to make Modi the PM was also made in Goa. I remember it was in this very hall. We were sitting here when Home Minister Rajnath Singh made the announcement and everyone accepted it with tremendous enthusiasm," Parrikar said.
The coastal state has always been a good luck charm for BJP--Modi's chief ministerial candidature was announced in Goa. Again, ahead of the 1999 election, the national executive was held in Goa and BJP was able to form a coalition government in the Center.
In May, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had targeted Parrikar, saying the latter was concentrating less on his ministry and more on Goa.
Without taking name of Kejriwal's Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar who was arrested on Tuesday by CBI in a graft case, Parrikar said, "Not that they take money personally, but their private secretaries do that. I heard that one of them is in jail."
Seeking to downplay AAP's electoral ambitions in his home state, the former Goa chief minister said, "During the election year, so many parties crop up like grass that comes up during rains. After rains the grass disappears. You will find such grass at roadside in monsoon."
Continuing his diatribe, Parrikar said, "There are many who are eyeing Goa. However, I know people are wise enough to identify them and shun them during the election."
Parrikar and his cabinet colleague AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik arrived for the function in a defence aircraft.
Clarifying on this, the minister said he availed the facility of defence aircraft to attend the event as he remained stuck in Delhi due to cabinet expansion till late afternoon.
"I usually don't avail this facility (of defence aircraft) but I had to take it because I wanted to be here. And I always find the reason to come to Goa," he said.
Responding to criticism over his week-end trips to Goa, Parrikar said, "Whosoever may try (to criticise me), but I will continue visiting Goa. This state is a energy source for me. I will work in Delhi government but politically I will be Goan."
In fact the Defence Minister had tried to dodging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's offer to elevate him to the union cabinet. ""On October 26, I had gone to meet Modi to discuss the Goa mining issue and provide some financial help for the state. He said we will do all that, but he also asked me 'why don't you join the central cabinet?'. It was like a bomb dropped on me," Parrikar said late on Tuesday.
He further added, "I said I will think about it and slipped away. I had decided that I will not come back (to Delhi) for another two to three months. A reminder was sent to me again in four-five days. And finally it was decided on November 6 and on November 8 I submitted my resignation'"
He said usually he remains confined to his official residence and office in Delhi, but doesn't miss any opportunity to visit Goa.
Hinting that next year's Assembly polls would be fought under Parsekar, Parrikar said, "it is now the responsibility of Parsekar to win the next elections".
With inputs from agencies.