Months after Janta Ka Reporter first reported about Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar suffering from pancreatic cancer, the state government has finally confirmed the news publicly.
Speaking to reporters, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane told reporters that Parrikar had indeed been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. He said, “He is the CM of Goa and the fact is that he is not well. He has got pancreatic cancer. There is no hiding of this fact. Rane’s public admission came amidst the opposition Congress mounting pressure on the government to come clean on Parrikar’s ability to continue as the chief minister. The Congress had given four days to the state’s BJP-led government to prove that Parrikar was of ‘sound health and mind’ and in a position to govern the state, reported news agency IANS.
Rane added, “Let him be peaceful with his family. That much right he has, after serving the people of Goa, that if he wants to spend some quality time with his family, nobody has the business to ask.”
Parrikar, who was was diagnosed with the fourth stage of pancreatic cancer in February, had to spend three months in the US for treatment and returned home only in June. He had travelled to the US again in early August for a follow-up checkup. He had recently held his cabinet meeting from the hospital bed of the AIIMS. This had earned him criticism from his political detractors, who accused him of being power hungry.
However, the opposition Congress had sensed a Rafale link to Parrikar’s insistence on continuing as the Goa chief minister. Goa Congress chief, Girish Chodankar had said that the BJP was scared of removing Parrikar from his post since it feared that the latter may spill the beans on the controversial Rafale deal.
In last year’s assembly elections, the BJP had managed to win only 13 out of 40 MLAs. The Congress had won 17 seats, emerging as the single largest party. But, the BJP had staked its claim to form the government with the help of Goa Forward Party led by Vijai Sardesai, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Nationalist Congress Party.