Parrikar defends regular Goa visits

Panaji, Oct 31 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday defended his regular visits to Goa, saying he is briefed by his ministry officials on telephone thrice a day when he is on visits to the coastal state or elsewhere in the country.

Parrikar, a former Chief Minister, said he had his political roots in Goa and he cannot be expected to be present in Delhi all the time.

“There is nothing wrong about it. As Defence Minister, I get a detailed briefing, even when I am here. I am here for Diwali. I get a briefing in the morning, afternoon and evening. I can speak on phone. I have to go around the country also,” Parrikar told the media on the sidelines of the inauguration of the state’s first multi-level parking facility in Panaji.

“I have to travel everywhere. I cannot be in Delhi all the time. I attend to every matter. As far as politics is concerned, my role will be to campaign for the BJP’s victory during elections,” he said.

Parrikar said his political opponents were critical of his regular visits to Goa since his presence could take away votes from them.

“Some people want me not to come (to Goa) because their chances diminish. I understand that. But any politician will keep regular contact with his key voters,” said Parrikar, when asked whether he will campaign in the 2017 Goa assembly elections.

Parrikar has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.