Mumbai, Aug 12 (PTI) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today called upon students to imbibe patriotism and always follow the policy of ‘nation first’.

The former defence minister said marginalised sections of the society must be empowered for harmonious development of the country.

Delivering his keynote speech at the 55th convocation of the IIT-Bombay, the senior BJP leader said, “For the nation to succeed, there needs to be a strong binding force. Our’s is a great nation with many themes that we are proud of.” “The pearls of past, present and future can only be strung together by a strong sense of patriotism. And when it comes to working on the field, then we should always keep in the mind that nation always comes first,” he said.

Parrikar, an alumnus of the IIT-Bombay, said if students think politics is “dirty”, then they should join it and make things better.

“If you think that politics is dirty, then I would say, this is why you should precisely come here,” he said.

Parrikar had enrolled in the IIT-Bombay in 1973 and graduated in metallurgical engineering in 1978. He is the first IIT graduate to become the chief minister of any state.

Parrikar said social inclusion was a major challenge for harmonious development of the country.

“The truly marginalised sections of the society need to be empowered, especially Dalits and tribals, irrespective of their caste, religion and community,” he said.

The engineer-turned-politician advised the graduating students to work keeping in mind long-term goals.

“When it comes to long-term changes, we should not expect instant results by keeping in mind that what comes quickly, goes away quickly,” he said.

As many as 2,612 students, including 357 PhD holders, were awarded degrees at the convocation ceremony.

Yusuf K Hamied, Chairman of pharmaceutical giant Cipla Ltd, was bestowed with the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) at the hands of Parrikar.

During his speech, Parrikar took a trip down memory lane and recalled his hostel days in the premier institute.

The CM, speaking in a lighter sense, said when he was the mess coordinator, he hardly got any appreciation for arranging “delicious” food menu. But whenever something went wrong, he was the first one to be questioned.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.