Despite facing criticism from the Opposition parties for his involvement in the Goa Assembly elections, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said he was "the leader of the state".
A report in The Indian Express said that Parrikar has even missed important national events like the Beating Retreat, Parliament's Budget Session so far and even the presentation of the Budget.
“In Delhi, I am the defence minister. Here in Goa, I am the leader of the state,” the report quoted him as saying. "I feel they (Opposition) are scared of my face. Scared of seeing me here. Scared of seeing me go door to door and gain voters’ confidence. They know if my face is all over Goa, the state will vote for the BJP. Every other party is scared."
In January, Parrikar had even indicated that he might relinquish his current job as India's defence minister and that he is ready to go back to Goa politics if his party, the BJP, is re-elected in the forthcoming polls in the state.
The former Goa chief minister had said that he "never said no to any request by the party". Parrikar was responding to BJP chief Amit Shah's comment during his public meeting at Goa's Vasco, where he said that the next government in the state will "function under Parrikar's leadership, irrespective of his posting".
"(Prime Minister) Narendrabhai (Modi) needs him (Parrikar) at the Centre as well. We will decide after elections where Parrikar will be working. But let me assure you that wherever Parrikar may be working, the Goa government will function under his leadership," the BJP chief had said.
Sharpening his attack on Parrikar, RSS rebel and Goa Suraksha Manch founder Subhash Velingkar had said that the defence minister is desperate to be back in Goa.
Velingkar, whose outfit is fighting the polls in alliance with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantk Party (MGP) and Shiv Sena, also accused the RSS leadership of turning a blind eye to 'misdeeds' of Parrikar, even as he affirmed that he still stood by the basic "principles of the Sangh."
"Parrikar has been failing in Delhi in his job as the defence minister. Now, he is desperate to return to Goa as chief minister," Velingkar had told PTI. "Parrikar is acting as a part-time defence minister. All political and administrative reins of Goa are in his hands," he had claimed.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 15:14 PM