Manohar Parrikar’s How to Influence People & Win Goa


Manohar Parrikar’s How to Influence People & Win Goa

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar

With Manipur and Goa, the BJP in 2017 has officially won more hotly contested awards than Taylor Swift at the Grammys. As immediate consequence, former defence minister Manohar Parrikar has gone from leading the world’s third largest military and the sixth largest military expenditure to watching a bunch of drunk people go out of control on the beach. Some would see this as a demotion. I, on the other hand, consider him an idol.

Parrikar’s genius doesn’t simply lie in the fact that he got the chance to move out of polluted Delhi and live in sunny Goa. It was the way he bullied his way into chief ministership like a 14-year-old school kid with a Jaguar. While the Congress was figuring out a way to somehow lose another winning situation in Goa, the BJP and Manohar Parrikar were invited to form government in the state by the governor herself. So Parrikar went ahead and formed government with the help of three members of the Goa Front party and a few independents.

The Congress immediately turned around and accused the BJP of using money and influence to win the election, and were greeted with the jibes they should be used to by now. But Manohar Parrikar is an honest man, right? There’s no way he attempted to bribe anybody. The Election Commission has video evidence of him saying, “There is no objection, if someone roams there with Rs 500. But you should keep in mind that vote shall come to lotus (BJP’s election symbol) only.” But he’s an innocent man with development on his mind. Parrikar argued that the video was tampered, but he still had to be asked to “promote the sanctity of electoral process” by the Election Commission.

But whatever the law may say, it was lotuses for Goa in the end, as Parrikar pulled off a caper that Jason Statham would have been proud of. He predictably followed it up with a few cocky comments like “(@Digvijaya Singh) this is what happens when you come to Goa to have fun.” What happens, dear Parrikar, you win an election and have it snatched from under you? He also followed it up with a mildly humourous comment about how he had no friends in Delhi in a press conference.

Back when he was defence minister, Parrikar also revealed that he wasn’t a man who likes to waste time.

With this exceptional lack of enthusiasm, he humiliated the Congress even further. But, honestly, the Congress shouldn’t really be surprised by Parrikar’s lack of enthusiasm. He gave us a hint of his expert ability to break down a tense situation after the Pathankot attack last January, when he said, “The country can’t tolerate terror anymore.” Which is a very harsh stand to take against people lobbying for more terror attacks. “Without my permission, no one can come: Those terrorists (Pathankot) were the last,” he had announced prophetically. A poor move in hindsight.

When faced with another attack in September, Parrikar started out his week tweeting a photo of himself celebrating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday by inaugurating a health and wellness camp in Panaji. The next day, when our jawans were attacked at the border, the Shiv Sena used this as an opportunity to call him out for chilling in Goa when more important things were going on, an accusation he went on to level at Digvijaya Singh.

Back when he was defence minister, Parrikar also revealed that he wasn’t a man who likes to waste time. When faced with a situation where jawans were killed in an attack from across the border, not only did he post a heartfelt condemnation of the “cowardly attack”, he followed this up with a photo-op at a hospital in Kashmir, where he stood around injured personnel and gave “necessary” instruction that they should be taken care of. He even inspected one X-Ray himself, much to the surprise of one doctor.

Parrikar is also known for his expert ability to deliver Inception-esque comments, such as “the PM’s ‘statement’ about punishing those responsible will not be taken as a mere ‘statement’”. Besides this, he has been in the news in the past for taking strong stands against many other things. He’s taken potshots at Aamir Khan for being intolerant AF, called for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s tongue to be trimmed (Kejriwal was left speechless), and said Pakistan was worse than hell. But all three times he was heavily criticised for not doing his job. Poor guy can’t even have an opinion on an actor without being reminded of atrocities at the border.

Maybe now as Goa chief minister, Parrikar will get his chance to relax a bit. He won’t have to worry about big problems like defence budgets and terror attacks. Now he can spend all his free time making sure no woman dares to wear a bikini on a beach.