Former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's son Utpal Monday described as insensitive NCP chief Sharad Pawar's remark that the late leader relinquished his post at the Centre and returned to Goa because he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal. In a statement issued in Panaji, Utpal said the Parrikar family was saddened to read Pawar's remarks. "This is yet another unfortunate and insensitive attempt to invoke my father's name to push blatant falsehood for political gains," he said.
Addressing reporters in Kolhapur on Saturday, Pawar had said, "The Rafale deal was not acceptable to Parrikar. He therefore quit as Defence minister and returned to Goa."
Parrikar, who took over as defence minister in November 2014, was sworn in as Goa chief minister on March 14, 2017. He died on March 17 this year after a long battle with a pancreatic cancer.
He also said political leaders were using Parrikar’s name and speaking lies as his father was not alive anymore, terming it a “new low in the Indian political discourse.”
Utpal added that such a statement was not expected from a senior and respected politician like him.
“Now that you have made this statement, let me once again state the basic facts. My father was an honest, upright individual who worked in the best interests of the country, be it in Delhi or in Goa. Shri Parrikar went to serve as the Defence Minister, and by all accounts, did an excellent job,” Parrikar’s son said.
“Many historic decisions were taken by him for which he will be remembered forever. One of them was the Rafale fighter aircraft acquisition deal of which he was one of the chief architects. Later, when the people of Goa wanted him to come back to serve then, Shri Parrikar, ever the people's leader, dutifully came back and served Goa till his last breath,” he added in the letter.
Utpal also said it was an insult to the love between the people of Goa and Parrikar to falsely suggest that he came back due to the Rafale acquisition.
“As a former Defence Minister yourself, I am sure you know the importance of equipping our brave soldiers well,” he said.
“It is sad that those who never bothered to enquire about my father he was putting up a brave fight against illness have begun invoking his name to indulge in political mudslinging. I urge you to desist from such conduct. Allow us, the people of Goa and all Indians who respect Shri Parrikar, to grieve in peace,” Utpal said.
(With PTI inputs)