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Why CM Manohar Parrikar was seen inspecting a bridge in Goa and why critics should lay off

While fighting the arduous battle, he seems to be keeping his emotional strength up by carrying on his work as usual and by deriving pleasure from what his passion really is, that is, to see Goa develop.

Images of an ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, inspecting a bridge in Goa may evoke varied reactions from the average Indian, but those who know him closely, know exactly what is happening.

While the physical appearance of Parrikar may have changed over the years, he is the same Parrikar who was seen in 2004, supervising works for the International Film Festival of India (IFF), well into the night. He is the same Parrikar who was seen jumping on to the roads on Panaji to manage traffic on the opening night of IFFI when he saw that the traffic cops had made a mess of the situation. He is the Parrikar, who loves his work more than anything else in this world.

Coming to the most recent picture, it shows Parrikar inspecting a bridge in Goa. It is no ordinary bridge though. It is the third bridge connecting entire North Goa, to Panaji, Parrikar’s constituency for the past many years. The bridge is expected to resolve a lot of traffic woes for Panaji, with its multiple flyovers.

Such a grand bridge is being attempted for the first time in Goa, at an estimated cost of Rs 482 crores. It will be the third longest cable-stayed bridge in India, once completed.

Not only is it Parrikar’s dream project and important to Goa, but Parrikar also wants it completed as soon as possible. The current target date for inauguration has been set as 12 January 2019, with the possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating it being explored.

Parrikar spent nearly an hour on the bridge, accompanied by his son Utpal, three doctors and his personal secretary. Parrikar is understood to have ordered L&T to complete the illumination of the bridge by this year-end. He also instructed that the crash barriers and painting has to be completed by 12th January.

When he was informed about some traffic issues slowing down some part of the work, Parrikar is reported to have instantly called deputy superintendent of police (traffic), to sort out the issue. Parrikar also suggested that the national flag could be flown from atop the pylons of the bridge at a height of around 35m.

This is the hands-on, thoroughly involved Parrikar that Goans have come to see and love over the past few years. And hence, it is unfathomable that Parrikar was being coerced to appear at the site of the bridge. On the other hand, it is most likely that Parrikar coerced his medical team to allow him out in the open.

It is laughable to imagine how Modi or Amit Shah could force Parrikar to continue as the Chief Minister, as insinuated by Omar Abdullah and several other politicians, when they couldn’t force him to stay on as perhaps India’s finest defence minister.

Besides the fact that this is the quintessential Parrikar, watching over his pet project, one cannot ignore the elephant in the room: his fight with cancer.

Cancer is a debilitating disease. It eats at a man’s body and attacks every living fibre with all it has got. For some, the physical ailment affects their mental strength. For others, it gives them renewed grit to live every moment and cherish everything they loved while in the pink of their health.

It is said that cancer patients heal better if they are mentally and emotionally strong. For several inspirational individuals, the upkeep of their emotional strength meant trying as much as they could, to live as if the disease did not exist at all. Several patients try to alienate the disease from their existence and that gives them the strength to carry on their fight against the invasive disease.

Parrikar seems to be doing just that. While fighting the arduous battle, he seems to be keeping his emotional strength up by carrying on his work as usual and by deriving pleasure from what his passion really is, that is, to see Goa develop.

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