State funeral for Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

Manohar Parrikar

Goa Chief Minister and former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who had said he would serve Goa till his last breath, died at his son’s home in Panaji on Sunday (March 17) after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year. He was 63. The announcement was made in a tweet by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Prime Minister Narendra and Home Minister Rajnath Singh hastened to Goa to pay their last respects to the departed leader. He will be accorded a state funeral with full military honours, according to the home ministry. The central government a day’s national mourning on Monday (March 18) when all schools and colleges in Goa would remain closed.

The four-time chief minister’s death created political uncertainty in Goa as the BJP-led alliance could not reach a consensus over his successor. Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari spoke to all the alliance partners to resolve the deadlock. Goa’s Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo told reporters that Maharashtra Gomantak Party leader Sudin Dhavlikar wanted to be the next chief minister of Goa.

The opposition Congress wrote to Governor Mridula Sinha and staked a claim to form the government. With the death of Manohar Parrikar, the strength of the 40-member Goa Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 36. BJP MLA Francis D’Souza died in February while two Congress members had resigned last year.