Efforts by a section of residents of the state capital of Panaji and the local BJP office bearers to rename a multi-purpose indoor sports complex after former Chief Minister late Manohar Parrikar has attracted criticism from the opposition.
After BJP MLA Atanasio Monserrate submitted a memorandum from a group called 'Citizens of Panaji' requesting the renaming of the sports facility to 'Manohar Parrikar multi-purpose indoor stadium' on Wednesday (15 January), the Aam Aadmi Party claimed that such renaming exercises were "nothing but time-pass".
"Is there a need to rename the indoor stadium after Manohar Parrikar? If that is the case, just rename Panaji after Parrikar as 'City of Manohar Parrikar'. Renaming is nothing but time-pass. No one will benefit. No one is speaking about welfare of children, youth? What about jobs?" AAP Goa convener Elvis Gomes told IANS.
Monserrate claims that renaming the sports facility currently operated by the Sports Authority of Goa, after Parrikar was appropriate considering the former Defence Minister was the legislator of the state capital constituency until his death on 17 March last year.
"We have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister about renaming the indoor sports complex, including the swimming pool after Manohar Parrikar. It is fitting because he was an MLA until his death," Monserrate said.
The sports stadium includes badminton, table tennis, gymnasium, swimming avenues among other sports facilities and is being upgraded to facilitate National Games events, which are scheduled to be held in October this year.
"Bhai (Parrikar was affectionately referred to as) represented Panaji constituency for more than 20 years and it would be a fitting tribute to him if this multi-purpose stadium, which is located in Panaji constituency is named after him," the letter written by 'Citizens of Panaji', which was submitted to the Chief Minister's Office by Monserrate states.
Parrikar represented the Panaji assembly constituency since 1994. He briefly vacated the seat, after he was elevated to the National Democratic Alliance cabinet at the Centre from 2014-17. But after his return to state politics, he was re-elected to the Panaji seat. The BJP however failed to retain the seat after his death, losing to Monserrate, who contested the by-election in 2019 on a Congress ticket, before switching over to the BJP subsequently.
This is not the first time, that renaming government infrastructure after Parrikar has triggered controversy.
Efforts made last month by former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai to christen a refurbished stretch of road in South Goa's Fatorda assembly constituency after Parrikar faced opposition from local residents and was criticised by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant himself. Sawant cautioned against naming "any random project" after Manohar Parrikar, saying such attempts would poorly impact the late politician's stature.
Parrikar was one of the tallest politicians in the state and was the first Goan leader to be appointed a full-fledged cabinet minister in the central government.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)