PANAJI: There was an outpour of love and affection. The popularity of Manohar Parrikar was very much evident from the number of people who turned up on Monday as he took off on his last journey.
People thronged the city to pay their last respects to Manohar Gopalkrishna Prabhu Parrikar, one last time.
Voters, fans, admirers, politicians, government officials, commoners, political rivals made their way, in the scorching heat, to the Kala Academy, where his mortal remains were kept until 4.30 pm.
At first, very few people gathered there, with the battalions of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), Central Reserve Police Force and Goa Police, managing the people’s movement.
Initially, there were just two queues, and soon another was added, as the queues, by 12 noon, had extended up to Children’s Park.
There was no chaos outside the Kala Academy, more so, as nobody was in the mood to rush or grumble, however, a few broke a queue to enter the complex.
There was an entrance that was restricted to politicians, officials and family members.
The mortal remains were placed in the open area, which otherwise houses a canteen.
There was a group reciting shlokas, and the Parrikar family members that included his brothers, sisters and two sons, Utpal and Abhijat and their wives accepted condolences of politicians and VIPs, who were allowed entry in the enclosure.
The people, as they walked past his mortal remains were seen crying, clicking photos, saluting and offering prayers whilst trying to catch the last glimpse of ‘Bhai’ Parrikar.
The area was cordoned off and entry of people was suspended before the Prime Minister Narendra Modi could arrive at Kala Academy to pay homage to Manohar Parrikar before the final rites were performed.
At around 2 pm Modi walked into the premises, and after paying a floral tribute, he walked up to the family members and spoke to the two sons at length and offered condolences to the family members present. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Governor Mridula Sinha also offered condolences to the bereaved family.
Union Minister for Commerce and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, and Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani were present to offer their last tributes to a politician who served the party until his last.
The Goan politicians from the ruling and opposition parties that included president of MGP Deepak Dhavalikar, and president of Shiv Sena Deepak Kesarkar among the others who paid homage to the departed chief minister of Goa.
There were many who stood in the queues for nearly two to three hours to pay their last respects.
Aruna Bhide, from Van- Bicholim, said that she got to catch a glimpse of Parrikar after waiting in a queue for three hours.
“The reason for coming so far was to pay homage to our chief minister. If we do not pay homage to him then who will we pay homage to? Not only as a politician but moreover as a person he was excellent. He showed the people who a good leader was and not only I but everyone adorns him for the kind of work he did,” she said.
Freedom fighter, Madhav Mandrekar didn’t mind waiting in the queue.
He said, “Though I am a Congressman I would say the work Manohar has done is commendable. I had gone to visit him when he lost his wife, and today what has happened is sad. Manohar has been a great inspiration to every person.”
72-year-old former councillor of Panaji, Bharathi Heble was heartbroken.
She couldn’t bear to see him suffer a terminal sickness and yet work with zeal.
“What I admire about him is that he was very dedicated to his work. He wouldn’t get peace if the work wasn’t done and would work effortlessly and this is one quality that I take back from him,” she said.
Many youngsters too who had come to pay homage to the late chief Minister.
Samiksha Naik from Sanguem couldn’t speak enough about him and his leadership.
She in particular emphasised the manner in which Parrikar took decisions that made him stand out among other politicians in the state.
“Though there are several ministers, there was something about sir that was remarkable. He fought till his last breath. Whenever he would come up with any plans for Goa, it would always benefit people,” Naik added.
Source:: The Navhind Times