"Once a person enters politics, the person never remains the same; his image cannot remain cleaned," they say.
But if someone asks me about my opinion on that thought, then I know an unusual politician who changed the definition of a politician and proved that even after coming into power, a politician can remain "Aam Aadmi."
I am talking about the former defece minister, who during a 28-month stint broke the nexus between middlemen, arms agents, and DM's officials and brought phenomenal changes to the defence sector when no one was trying to do so. While working in the South Block, he was the one who took the first step in making India Aatmanirbhar in the defence sector.
Yes, you are right; we are talking about Manohar Parrikar, the first IITian to become the CM of a state. The most inspiring quality of the late Manohar Parrikar was his simplicity in life. He did not crave the materialistic benefits we so often see in the political circle.
His level can be defined by one incident where a car being driven by a police officer's son banged into him when he was driving a scooter. As the young man got out and flashed his connections, Parikkar just lifted his helmet and smiled: "Yes, I know who you are, but I am also your CM!"
A disciplined Sangh member, Parrikar’s tryst with the RSS started in his childhood and continued through his days at IIT-Bombay. Parrikar, who was fondly called ‘Manu’ by his classmates at IIT Bombay, showed his inclination and knack for solving administrative problems early in his college days, when he is said to have significantly improved the quality of hostel food as Mess Secretary.
After graduating from IIT, Parrikar started his life as a businessman in Goa, running, among other businesses, a hydraulics component manufacturing factory in Sancoale Industrial Estate and being a dedicated RSS swayamsevak, almost single-handedly building the organization’s network in the coastal state.
Parrikar’s political start was far from smooth.
In 1991, the BJP, which had hardly any presence in the state, asked him to contest for the North Goa Lok Sabha seat. However, Parrikar's electoral debut was unsuccessful. Congress candidate Harish Zantye defeated him in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls.
He was first elected to the second legislative assembly of Goa in 1994. Parrikar had represented the Panaji constituency in the Goa Legislative Assembly when he was still new to state politics. It was also the first time that the BJP entered the Goa assembly with four members.
Using his Parrikar, he started establishing the BJP’s footprints across the state. Parrikar took over the reins as the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time in 2002.
Even after having no experience running the government, with these abilities to solve administrative problems and the ability to predict the opponents’ moves and outthink them with pre-emptive strikes, he started growing his roots.
His popularity soared as he stopped the traditional practice of using the beacon for his official car, started sitting next to the driver in his official vehicle, and became the most accessible chief minister in the post-statehood era.
The workaholic Parrikar was credited with bringing several populist and social schemes, such as the Ladli Laxmi Scheme, which helped women avail Rs. 1 lakh to meet wedding expenses; the Griha Aadhar Scheme, under which housewives in the state would get Rs. 1,000 each month to offset rising inflation and gas price expenses; and the Cyberage Scheme, under which every Class IX student in the state was given a personal computer at a nominal cost of Rs. 1,000.
These schemes were later emulated in some form by various other state governments, with PM Modi crediting Parrikar for his innovative schemes, which inspired similar welfare measures when he was the Gujarat CM. Apart from these initiatives in Goa, Parrikar has also been said to have resolved the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) issue.
Looking at his work, Parrikar was persuaded by PM Modi to join the central government as defence minister. The PM had tasked him with an important job and, like a dyed-in-the-wool disciplinarian, Initially reluctant to leave Goa, he stayed in Delhi from November 2014 to March 2017 to serve under the NDA government.
When Parrikar took over as defence Minister, he said that he had inherited the ministry with "fear psychosis and a frozen mindset" in the department, where no one was ready to take any decisions, and changing that system was a challenge.
For Parikkar, the defence ministry posed a challenge and an opportunity: the challenge of cutting through the bureaucratic stranglehold over defence deals and the opportunity of restoring the faith of the armed forces in the state. Rajdeep Sardesai
As defence minister, he streamlined and sped up defence procurement procedures and planned the surgical strike on Pakistan during his short tenure as defence minister.
"I want our jawans to have the best equipment and facilities," he once said. "Officers can manage, but who will speak up for the jawans?"
Firsts: the first IITian to become the CM of a state; the first Goan to become a cabinet-rank minister at the center and a national leader of stature; and also the first CM of a state to continue in office for over a year despite being diagnosed with terminal-stage cancer.
He was a man who transcended politics when it came to nation and state. A man with a beautiful mind who was equally at ease with tradition and modernity His dedication and commitment towards the development of Goa and India will always be an inspiration to generations of patriots. His contributions to the nation will always be remembered.