Panaji: The opposition has attacked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for attending a book release function in Goa hours after terrorist strikes in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress have asked Parrikar, the former Goa Chief Minister, to safeguard India's borders instead of interfering in state politics as a "Super CM".
Congress leader Durgadas Kamat claims that if an Indian defence minister can spare two days a week "chilling" in Goa, there was something seriously amiss.
"Defence Minister is a full-time job. The country does not want a part-timer in that position. How can (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, himself a workaholic, allow his defence minister to do such a shoddy, half-hearted job?" Kamat asks.
On Friday evening, hours after suspected terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked an army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, killing eight soldiers and three policemen, Mr Parrikar was seen at a literary festival held on the outskirts of Panaji.
Mr Parrikar defended himself, saying, "There are some who said I should be in Kashmir... If I am in Kashmir the army will have to spend energy on taking care of me." He added that he was monitoring the situation in Kashmir on an hourly basis.
Opposition parties allege that ever since he was elevated as Defence Minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government last month, he has been visiting Goa two to three days almost every week.
BJP sources to said that Parrikar was in the process of establishing a camp office in Panaji, where he is expected to spend two days each week to oversee political as well as administrative matters in Goa.
"The staff is being shortlisted. The camp office will be located at the Paryatan Bhavan," a source said.
NCP state vice president Trajano D'Mello said Parrikar must "stop riding two boats -- in the national interest."
"You cannot be Defence Minister and continue to run Goa by remote control. The problem with Parrikar is he is too used to being No.1. He cannot be No.1 in the NDA with Modi around. Therefore he wants to come to Goa, where his writ runs over his replacement chief minister," Mr D'Mello said.
The BJP in Goa believes that Mr Parrikar's weekly departures from South Block to Goa were not an issue.
"He (Parrikar) knows his job better than me... If he comes to Goa, the party here is happy," state BJP vice president Wilfred Mesquita said.
"But if there is something to be done there, he and the prime minister will do it. It is not an issue for us," he said.
A photograph of the defence ministere at the Goa book release went viral on social media, with Twitter commentators drawing comparisons with former home ministers in the UPA government Sushil Kumar Shinde and Shivraj Patil, whose tenure was marked by controversies.
While Patil came under fire in 2008 for taking time for a change of shirts in the aftermath of a terror strike in Mumbai, Shinde attracted flak for attending a movie music launch and posing alongside actress Kangana Ranaut after the serial blasts in Patna last year.