A metallurgical engineer from IIT-Bombay who lost his seat as Chief Minister the last time due to party deserters, Manohar Parrikar looks set to romp home with enough seats to push his policies through in Goa.
The 47-year-old chief ministerial candidate of the BJP, known for his clean image and blunt comments, was first elected to the Goa legislative assembly in 1994 from Panjim and has since not stood from any other constituency.
After becoming the leader of the opposition, Parrikar was the head of the first BJP government in the state and in 2000 became the first IITian to head a state government.
He lost power in 2002 , came back to power in four months and stayed in power until 2005 until he had the rug pulled out from under him when a few of his MLAs withdrew support to his government.
He couldn’t help but admit his relief that it seemed that this time he would not need to depend on any alliance partners.
“This time the BJP has a clear majority which is almost 70 percent,” Parrikar told CNN-IBN
Parrikar has spearheaded the campaign against illegal mining and corruption in Digamber Kamat’s government and had support from across religious community lines, something not usually seen in the BJP party.
“I am very proud to say we got support from Hindus, Catholics and Muslims. It is their victory to save Goa,” Parrikar said.
He has also been fighting to change his image of being arrogant and aloof with road shows across the state to meet with BJP workers. However, he has been equally quick to dismiss any similarities between his style of functioning and BJP poster boy Narendra Modi’s.
“I will have a Manohar Parrikar government,” he told CNN-IBN soon after it emerged the BJP would have a majority in the Goa assembly.
Despite his clean image, there have been accusations of Parrikar turning a blind eye to corruption among his ministers in the past. Having won after a campaign based on weeding out corruption in the government, the cricket-loving BJP legislator surely will be more watchful during his upcoming tenure.