Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar arrived at the state secretariat on Tuesday for the first time since he was admitted to AIIMS last September. Parrikar has been on treatment for pancreatic cancer since February last year.

BJP workers had gathered at the Secretariat to welcome their ailing leader who was welcomed by BJP MLAs, including Legislative Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant, ministers Mauvin Godinho, Milind Naik, Nilesh Cabral and former MLA Kiran Kandolkar.

PTI quoted Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) sources as saying that Parrikar held a meeting with officials of the Personnel department to review existing vacancies and issues like promotions and transfers.

Before this, on December 16, Parrikar had made a surprise visit to inspect two projects – one in Panaji, and the other at the new Zuari bridge in south Goa. This came in the backdrop of the High Court of Bombay at Goa reserving its verdict on a petition seeking the health status of Parrikar. These were his first public appearances since October 14, when he returned from AIIMS.

On December 1, he had met the state government officers at his residence. He had last attended the office in August 2018, before he was shifted to Mumbai for treatment.

Meanwhile, dismissing a petition seeking medical examination of Parrikar’s ailing health, the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court had on December 20 reaffirmed that Parrikar has an individual right to privacy as an Indian citizen, stating any such public report will be “outrageous overstepping in the territory of privacy” and “impermissible in law”.

Parrikar’s health has remained the most-talked about development in the state political circles. The Opposition Congress kept demanding that Parrikar, 63, step down from the post due to his ‘deteriorating health’.

From Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai to a private facility in the USA and then to AIIMS, Parrikar held charge from the hospital bed, for over eight months. This gave enough ammunition to the Opposition who have been staking claim to form the new government in the coastal state.

The Congress told Goa Governor Mridula Sinha that given a chance, it was in a position to form the government. The year also saw Urban Development Minister Francis DSouza and Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar suffering serious illness.

While D’Souza was treated in a hospital in the USA, Madkaikar has been out of bounds since June after suffering brain stroke in Mumbai. Parrikar dropped both the ministers, replacing them with two new faces.