Goa chief minister to pen ‘hilarious, bestselling’ memoir

By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, IANS,

Panaji : Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who single-handedly scripted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in the recently held Goa polls, may soon be ‘scripting’ yet another success story.

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He is planning to pen down a memoir on his political life and the 56-year-old claims he has enough fodder to make it to the bestseller list.

“I am now thinking of writing a book and I am sure it will be a bestseller because I have had access to so much ‘comedy’ when I was in politics and in government,” Parrikar announced at a centenary function organised by the Gomantak Maratha Samaj.

The tough-talking IIT-Mumbai alumnus is seen by some as a silver lining on Goa’s jaded political canvas, populated by either ageing, overtly corrupt and petty machinating leaders or power-hungry local satraps who mushroom in one election and disappear in the next.

While Parrikar over the last two decades has been the only acceptable, educated and engaging face within the state BJP who cuts ice across regions and communities in Goa, his failings have perhaps been his ability to put his foot in the mouth coupled with a touch of arrogance.

The chief minister claims that his book, when published, would have its readers in splits because the stories about Goa’s dynamic power corridors are hilariously comic.

“When you read that book you will keep laughing. The things I have seen in the government are so comic!” Parrikar said.

Perhaps one such tragic-comic moment in the recent past for Parrikar was when, as one of the top contenders for the post of BJP national president in 2009, he likened then party president L.K. Advani to rancid pickle.

Parrikar’s comment triggered a furore in the party ranks and he lost out in the presidential race to the less cavalier Nitin Gadkari.

Publishers based in Goa are pretty much gungho about Parrikar’s memoirs.

Khalid Ahmad, who runs Goa’s biggest publishing company Broadway books, says if a book on Nitish Kumar by Goa-based editor Arun Sinha could work, Parrikar’s attempt too would become a bestseller.

“Chances of his book clicking are good. People have faith in him,” said Ahmad, who publishes two to three titles every month.

Parrikar incidentally would not be the first Goan chief minister to pen down his memoirs. Back in the 1990s, former chief minister and presently a member of the elite Congress Working Committee (CWC) Luizinho Faleiro wrote a book called “My Goa”.

“It did not do very well. ‘My Goa’ sold around 600-odd copies I think then. I was the distributor for the book,” Ahmad said.

Parrikar himself is optimistic about the success of his still incomplete and unpublished book and even ‘decided’ what he would do with the money he rakes in from the sales.

“I will not keep the money which comes in for the book. I will probably donate it somewhere,” the chief minister said.

Jason Fernandes, a doctoral researcher and a regular Op-Ed columnist from Goa, says he certainly would line up to buy Parrikar’s book.

“Without a doubt Parrikar will go down in the annals of Goan history as one of its more prominent figures,” Fernandes said.

When asked if Parrikar, still in active politics, would have the gumption and rigour to be candid in his book, Fernandes said: “…this is precisely why we should wait in eager anticipation for this book”.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at [email protected])