Despite being in New Delhi for nearly one-and-a-half years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he has not “settled” in the national capital as he can never be a “Delhi politician”.
However, Parrikar, who assumed charge in November 2014 from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who till then also held the defence portfolio, said he was “well settled” in the Defence Ministry. He said though he is an “outsider” in Delhi’s political circles, his comments about not being settled in Delhi should not be mixed with constant rumours of his going back to Goa, his home state.
Parrikar’s remarks come at a time when the state is getting ready for elections next year. It is expected that Parrikar, the tallest BJP leader in Goa, will play a critical role in the party’s campaign there.
“I am busy with my department. I am settled in the Ministry. But if you ask me, whether I am settled in Delhi. No. I don’t think I will ever get settled in Delhi,” he said.
Parrikar said one cannot pull out a 50 year-old tree and replant it somewhere else.
“At the age of 25-30 you can get in those social circles. With my coming here at 59 and, secondly, in Ministry which by nature is a closed Ministry, it becomes almost impossible for you to really get into social circles. I am busy with my work, I don’t get enough time to complete my work,” he said.
Asked to elaborate, the Minister said never settling in Delhi means “politically, I will not become a part of Delhi”. But I am settled in Defence Ministry and that is adequate for my job, he said, adding his focus is on getting the job done.
Parrikar, a three-time Goa CM under whom BJP swept the Goa Assembly elections in 2012, was asked to join the Narendra Modi Cabinet in November 2014. He was then elected to Rajya Sabha from Lucknow.