Utpal Parrikar, the elder son of late Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Monday wrote to Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, accusing him of lies and blaming him for misusing his father’s name for political gains.
He also urged him to allow the family and those who respected late Parrikar, to grieve in peace.
Mr. Pawar, in a statement on Sunday, had said that the Rafale deal was “not acceptable” to Parrikar and therefore he resigned as Defence Minister. Parrikar served as Defence Minister from 2014-17, when the Rafale deal was being negotiated between India and France.
Sharing copies of his signed letter with The Hindu, Utpal said on Monday that the family was particularly saddened and dismayed by the remarks.
“I am shocked, saddened and dismayed as Mr. Pawar, such a senior and seasoned leader and who was himself a Defence Minister should speak like this, particularly when he knows that my father is not around to reply to his statement,” said Utpal.
“Even when my father was alive, and courageously fighting his illness, certain political leaders dragged his name for petty politics. That time my father had given a fitting reply to such insuniations and innuendo.”
“Today he is not amongst us that is why perhaps you are taking the liberty to use his name and speak lies.
“Being a senior and respected politician, people of India did not expect such a statement from you Pawar sahib,” he said.
Stating that his father was an honest, upright individual who worked in the best interests of the country, he said that his father went on to serve as Defence Minister and by all accounts did an excellent job. Stating that many historic decisions were taken by him, for which he will be forever remembered, Utpal said that one of those was the Rafale fighter aircraft acquisition deal of which he was one of the chief architects.
He said that later when the people of Goa wanted him to come back to serve them, Parrikar came back and served Goa till his last breath.
“It is an insult to the love between people of Goa and late Parrikar to falsely suggest that he came back due to Rafale acquisition. As a former Defence Minister yourself, I am sure you know the importance of equipping our brave soldiers well.”
Utpal, who is a front-runner to contest from the Panaji Assembly seat presently lying vacant due to his father’s demise, also said that Mr. Pawar’s comments were part of a “malicious misinformation campaign that seems to hinder the strengthening of our armed forces”.