Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar died in Panaji on Sunday, succumbing to a pancreatic ailment that had slowed down the technocrat-politician. He was 63.
"The chief minister died around 6.40 pm Sunday," a senior state government official told news agency PTI.
Parrikar admitted in December that he was battling a "life-threatening disease", but said he would continue to work till his last breath.
He presented the Goa budget in the assembly on January 30, wearing a tube in his nose. "Present circumstances have prevented me from delivering a detailed Budget speech, but there is a josh that is too high, very high and I am in hosh. Fully in hosh," he had said after presenting the budget.
Parrikar, who studied metallurgy at IIT Bombay, served as the defence minister for three years in the Narendra Modi government before he moved to take charge as Goa's chief minister for the fourth time in 2017.
Parrikars’ simplicity—he flew economy class and travelled with light police escort in his previous stints as chief minister—won him praise on social media. Photographs of Parrikar, who was then the defence minister, standing in a queue at a wedding dinner in Pune in May 2015 went viral and people praised him for his modesty.
He was born on December 13, 1955 in a middle-class family and began his political career as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak (worker).
"An epitome of integrity and dedication in public life, his service to the people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten," said President Ram Nath Kovind on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Parrikar "an unparalleled leader” and Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he was "one of Goa's favourite sons".
The Goa BJP, which leads a coalition government, will search for Parrikar’s replacement, reported PTI.
He headed a coalition government comprising the BJP, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Independents.
Parrikar represented the Panaji assembly seat and his death will necessitate a fourth by-poll in Goa, where by-elections are scheduled for the Shiroda, Mandrem and Mapusa assembly constituencies on April 23. These will held in the state along with Lok Sabha elections on April 23, reported PTI.
Parrikar will get a state funeral and the national
flag will fly at half-mast in Delhi and state capitals on Monday as a mark of respect, news agency ANI reported.