A recent photo of Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, where the former defence minister is seen interacting with officials on a bridge, has drawn both criticism and applause from the media and the political circles. In a few images tweeted out by the Goa Chief Minister's office, the chief minister, fairly frail, is seen standing with a few authorities on a bridge with a tube running through his nose. The telling photograph was shared extensively on social media.
Parrikar was inspecting a half-constructed bridge on Mandovi river on Sunday in his first public appearance since he spent months in Delhi AIIMS over a pancreatic condition. He appeared to be walking with support.
Chief Minister @manoharparrikar visited the construction site of 3rd Mandovi Bridge & inspected the progress of work. Officials of GSIDC and L&T engineers were present on the site to brief the Chief Minister. CM Parrikar later also inspected the ongoing works of new Zuari Bridge. pic.twitter.com/dUwe34Og9W
— CMO Goa (@goacm) December 16, 2018
He later inspected the work of a bridge over Zuar River near Agassaim village, some 15 kilometres from Panaji. Parrikar, who is suffering from a pancreatic ailment has been recuperating at his private residence since 14 October and this is the first time he has gone out of the house, officials said.
Photo op or resilient?
The photo, which was shared on Sunday (16 December), was retweeted for former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah who remarked that Parrikar should be allowed to deal with his health than with the 'tamasha'. Abdullah said it is "inhuman" to force Parrikar to continue working and doing "photo ops".
He has a tube inserted through his nose into his digestive tract. How inhuman to force him to continue working & doing photo ops. Why can’t he be allowed to deal with his illness without all this pressure & tamasha? https://t.co/iq0dwXCHmE — Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 16, 2018
Parrikar has been undergoing treatment in India and US since early this year and despite repeated requests to step down as the chief minister, the BJP leadership reportedly did not allow it. Reports had quoted Goa Forward Party president and town and country planning minister Vijay Sardesai who said, "Parrikar was inclined to give up the chief minister's post when he was admitted to a private hospital at Candolim. After that the BJP central leadership stepped in. It is not entirely in his hands." Another BJP source was quoted by The Times of India as saying that the top leadership did not agree to relieving Parrikar despite his illness.
Many agreed with Abdullah's tweet. Senior journalist and editor of The Print Shekhar Gupta said that it was not fair to expose him (Parrikar) to "stress and infection". He tweeted:
This isn’t fair, BJP. Manohar Parrikar is among our most unassuming & uncomplaining politicians. He’s bravely fighting a deadly disease. Why expose him to such stress & infection, tubes & all. https://t.co/KGKcQ2koFl
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) December 17, 2018
Political commentator Rupa Subramanya called the BJP desperate for hanging on to an "ailing minister":
This isn’t fair, BJP. Manohar Parrikar is among our most unassuming & uncomplaining politicians. He’s bravely fighting a deadly disease. Why expose him to such stress & infection, tubes & all. https://t.co/KGKcQ2koFl — Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) December 17, 2018
— richa singh (@richa_singh) December 15, 2018
What the @BJP4India is doing with Manohar Parrikar is just shameful. He clearly needs to recover and needs rest and not be paraded like this from time to time. Disgraceful attitude towards an obviously sick man. https://t.co/TkVjh7pZV0 — Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) December 15, 2018
This is very sad. Manohar Parrikar looks very unwell and frail. High time BJP takes a call to allow him rest. No point to keep him there incharge just to keep Govt together. Nothing more important that health of a person. https://t.co/lUQyP9dvkH
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) December 15, 2018
There were several others who lauded the chief minister for showing resilience in the face of sickness. BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia criticised Abdullah for his tweet.
How inhuman to do politics over someone's illness This picture speaks a thousand words, it conveys the strong commitment of Shri @manoharparrikar ji for our country Feeling of serving the people comes from within but netas like you who eulogize Burhan Wanis will not understand https://t.co/cjoiSCWyUx — Gaurav Bhatia 🇮🇳 (@gauravbh) December 17, 2018
What the @BJP4India is doing with Manohar Parrikar is just shameful. He clearly needs to recover and needs rest and not be paraded like this from time to time. Disgraceful attitude towards an obviously sick man. https://t.co/TkVjh7pZV0
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) December 15, 2018
Along with messages of 'get well soon', many called Parrikar an inspiration:
You insult cancer survivors' fighting spirits.@manoharparrikar has inspired me too. Nasogastric tube in elementary canal doesn't mean one's to be tied to a bed, gasping. I had worked with it for months. Didn't you see @IromSharmila wearing this for years? You must Say sorry! pic.twitter.com/mueqboouqr — आ. श्री. रघुनाथ (@asraghunath) December 16, 2018
Can we all drop everything that v r upto and salute this man! I mean epitome of dedication and inspiration to millions across the globe! Nothing can put us down from doing Wat we love! #Salute #inspiration #ManoharParrikar #goaCM. Your fire from within is not gonna let you fade! https://t.co/uvfAVJtVW6
— Raksha krishnaiah (@Rakshakgowda4) December 17, 2018
@manoharparrikar hats off to you sir. India needs Ministers like you who server for the country whole heartedly. Sir, you are a true #Hero. Get well soon. India needs you. #manoharparrikar @BJP4India pic.twitter.com/1GmZycXEqr — Shruti (@shruttitandon) December 18, 2018
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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2018 13:38:55 IST