Parrikar slams critics of public celebration of birthday

Panaji, Dec 13 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday lashed out at the Congress for calling the public celebration of his 60th birthday a “bash”, saying the success of the event organised by the BJP and the number of people who attended it was a “slap in the face” of those who criticised the event.

Parrikar was speaking at a function in Panaji organised by the Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party to celebrate the former chief minister’s 60th birthday.

“You have shown immense love towards me by coming here and sitting patiently for 3-4 hours. When those people who think this is a bash, see photographs of 50,000 people at one place, it will be like being slapped on the face 60 times,” an emotional Parrikar told the audience.

Many Congress leaders have been criticising the public celebration of Parrikar’s birthday, claiming it was “insensitive” towards the recent Chennai floods in which nearly 350 people have died.

Parrikar, however, said he was in no mood to accept the Congress charge.

He said that as defence minister, he had ensured that the armed forces responded with clinical efficiency to the natural disaster in the southern metropolis.

“You (referring to Congress leaders) are telling me about Chennai? The day the news broke about heavy rains in Chennai, I monitored the situation till midnight to ensure that the army and the navy reached there on time,” Parrikar said.

The coordination of the armed forces with the National Disaster Response Force was perfect, he said.

“We rescued people from all over the country. Brought them out in a safe and sound way (from Chennai) and we need certification from the Congress? I am glad I got endorsement from you people,” Parrikar said.

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