Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar turned 63 on Thursday, however, he will not celebrate his birthday in public as is the yearly ritual because of ailing health. But, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised various events to mark the occasion. This is the first time Parrikar will not celebrate his birthday in public since becoming an MLA over two decades ago.
“Since doctors have advised rest to the CM and he has been asked to avoid public contact, he will not be stepping out of his home to celebrate birthday,” Goa BJP spokesman Siddharth Kunkolienkar told news agency PTI. The former Panaji MLA said it would be for the first time since 1994, when he became an MLA, that Parrikar will not be among the members of the public to celebrate his birthday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to wish Parrikar and appreciated the chief minister's "hardworking nature" and commitment towards the development of Goa. "Birthday greetings to my friend and Goa's CM @manoharparrikarji. Parrikarji is known for his compassionate, down to earth and hardworking nature. He is extremely passionate about Goa's development," the PM tweeted. "The entire nation prays for Parrikarji's good health," he added.
Parrikar's family members, BJP workers and his well-wishers held a special prayer at the Mahalaxmi Temple in Panaji in the morning to pray for his health and speedy recovery. His elder son Utpal Parrikar, along with state BJP spokesperson and former Panaji MLA Siddharth Kunkolienkar, led the prayers at the temple.
“Even when he was Defence Minister, he used to fly to the state to celebrate his birthday,” said Kunkolienkar, who had resigned from the Panaji assembly constituency to make way for Parrikar to get elected in 2017. He said BJP workers and well-wishers of Parrikar would be holding a special prayer at Mahalaxmi Temple in Panaji on December 13 morning. “We would be praying for his health and speedy recovery,” he said.
Since 2006, the BJP’s Panaji unit has been organising a blood donation camp at party headquarters on the occasion. “There will be celebrations with special children from two schools - Disha Trust and People’s School for Special Children. Parrikar had been visiting these schools on his birthday without fail,” Kunkolienkar said.
Parrikar has been recuperating at his private residence at Dona Paula near here since October 14 when he was discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.