Social media clash over Parrikar's political legacy

Social media clash over Parrikar's political legacy

Manohar Parrikar

The battle for political legacy of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar appears to be slowly playing out in social media, even as the state is gearing up for upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly bypolls, scheduled to be held on April 23.

After the former defence minister died on March 17— after a prolonged battle with cancer — one of his proteges Pramod Sawant replaced him as chief minister, but there is a growing debate both in the BJP as well as in political circles about the proposed entry of Parrikar's sons Utpal and Abhijat in active state politics, something which the brothers have stayed away for all these years.

Both brothers in a joint statement last week, have committed to following Parrikar's legacy in service to the state and the nation. Interestingly, anonymous social media handles have begun warring in support and against their proposed "dynastic" step.

On Friday, a letter purportedly written by the Panaji mandal president of the BJP, which questioned the rise of dynastic politics in the saffron party and critiqued Parrikar's sons' entry into politics went viral, forcing state BJP spokesperson Sidharth Kuncalienkar to clarify that it was "fake news".

"We will be filing a complaint before the Goa Police IT cell and the Election Commission of India. Someone has forged this letter as part of a conspiracy," Kuncalienkar said.

Meanwhile, at least two anonymous social media handles, one of them named 'Swabhimani Panjikar' (Proud Panjimite) are rooting for Utpal, Parrikar's elder son to contest from the now vacant Panaji assembly constituency, which the late Chief Minister represented since 1994. The campaign, which is accompanied by Utpal's photograph, presents him as the visionary for the state capital.

Neither Utpal nor the BJP has commented on the campaign. But the Congress has already accused the BJP in Goa of promoting family raj, after the ruling party decided to grant an assembly bypoll ticket to the son of late deputy chief minister and Mapusa MLA Francis D'Souza.