Former Goa Deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza died after a prolonged battle with cancer on Thursday. Seen as the Catholic face in the government, D’Souza was known to be the man BJP looked to when it came to appeasing the minority population in the state. He was 64.
“Extremely pained to hear about the demise of my dear childhood friend, colleague and former Dy. CM of Goa advocate Francis D’Souza. A wonderful human being and a leader loved by all. He devoted himself to public service. His demise is a great personal loss,” Manohar Parrikar tweeted soon after hearing the news of his demise.
In the last few months, D’ Souza was upset after his portfolios were taken away from him and he was mulling exiting the party. Sources say in his meetings with other BJP leaders he didn’t hide his shock and disappointment on being shunted of his ministerial position either. With D Souza’s death the legislative tally of BJP comes down to 13 in the now 38- member Goa.
The state government has declared three day mourning. Across parties, the condolences have poured in with words like “soft spoken decent politician”, with the opposition also calling him a “politician who always have a ear to the public”. Michael Lobo, deputy speaker said Goa probably lost an icon, as he added, “he was the most down to earth politician one had in the state. Early on there was no minority face in the Goa politics during BJP. He showed us the way and also inspired us to join politics and BJP. It’s unfortunate that he was dejected during the last few months and years as he wasn’t made the chief minister, which went to another politician. Few of us showed how hurt he was to Manohar Parrikar, who then was defence minister.”
D’Souza was in the last one year shuttling between New York and Goa as he was nursing a case of cancer. D Souza was urban development minister but was later dropped after he started getting treated for cancer.