Parrikar’s presence in Goa during Pathankot attack slammed

Panaji: The opposition in Goa on Saturday slammed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s prolonged sojourn in the state in view of the terror attack in Punjab’s Pathankot town.

In separate statements issues here, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress said the defence minister’s presence in the national capital may have elicited a better and timely response to the terror attack.

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“The defence minister should stop playing proxy CM and an extra-constitutional authority of Goa and spend more time in Delhi running the defence ministry,” NCP state senior vice president Trajano D’Mello said.

Parrikar, a former chief minister, has been in Goa for the last four days and was to address a meeting of the BJP top brass on Saturday afternoon, rushed to Delhi on Saturday morning following the Pathankot attack to address a meeting of the armed forces’ service chiefs.

The Congress in Goa said the defence minister’s presence in Goa, especially during crunch times like the Pathankot attack, would “impact the morale of the armed forces”.

“Parrikar should have called the meeting of service chiefs immediately after the attack, but due to his presence in Goa, the meeting was delayed by almost 7-8 hours after the attack,” Congress secretary Durgadas Kamat said.

A BJP spokesperson, when contacted, did not wish to come on record, but said the two issues — the Pathankot terror attack and Parrikar’s presence in Goa — were not related.

“Parrikar rushed to Delhi soon after the incident today. He operates a fully functional camp office of the defence ministry in Panaji so it is incorrect to say he was on vacation,” the BJP official said.