Manohar Parrikar: India PM Modi leads tributes

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led condolences for Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday from pancreatic cancer.

Parrikar, 63, served as defence minister from 2014 to 2017, and was an important leader in Mr Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He also served as Goa chief minister four times and his death has left a vacuum in the state's politics.

Leaders across the political divide mourned his death.

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Mr Modi put out a series of condolence tweets - he praised Parrikar's tenure as defence minister for having "enhanced India's security capacities", and said Goa had reached "remarkable heights of progress" during his time as chief minister.

Several others, including opposition leaders, and current and former ministers tweeted their condolences.

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Parrikar was often praised for being "clean" or not corrupt, and was widely seen as someone who brought stability to Goa's politics - the state has had a string of unsteady coalition governments for decades. Parrikar himself had been chief minister thrice before but had never completed a full five-year term.

Although his cancer diagnosis became public in early 2018, he stayed in office through his illness - many see this as proof of how much the BJP needed him.

Parrikar had been mid-way through his tenure as defence minister when he chose to leave the post in 2017 to become chief minister of Goa.

The Congress had emerged as the single-largest party in state elections, but had fallen short of a majority and three of its members crossed over to the BJP.

Led by Parrikar, the BJP then cobbled together a coalition with smaller regional parties and independent candidates.

His death has again set off a scramble for power in Goa.

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The Congress party has staked a fresh claim to the state government as the BJP finds itself in a precarious spot with just 11 seats in the 40-member house. However, it still enjoys the support of some smaller regional parties and independent candidates.

An engineer by profession, Parrikar joined politics under the tutelage of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist organisation that is the ideological arm of the BJP. Many of the the BJP's leaders, including Mr Modi, have come from the ranks of the RSS.

Yet Parrikar appealed to the state's large Catholic community and succeeded in getting many of them to vote for the BJP.

Parrika's funeral will be held in the evening on Monday. His body is currently lying in state at the BJP's headquarters in Goa where political leaders have been gathering to pay their respects.

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