Gujarat's decision to rename the dragon fruit "Kamalam" has drawn sharp political reactions alongside memes and jokes on social media.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the dragon fruit would be called "Kamalam" in his state for two reasons. "The name dragon fruit is not proper, and due to its name one thinks of China," he said, adding, "Farmers say it looks like lotus and that is the reason we have named it ''Kamalam."
"Kamalam" is Sanskrit for lotus, the BJP's poll symbol. The Gujarat BJP party office is also named Kamalam.
Mr Rupani said there was nothing political in the decision to rename the exotic fruit now grown by farmers in Kutch, Navsari and different parts of Saurashtra.
But critics were not having it. On social media, "Kamalam" became almost as viral as "Kamala" on a day Kamala Harris was to take office as the first woman, first Black American and first Asian American US Vice President.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was among those who criticized the Gujarat move and likened it to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's renaming spree.
"Is the Gujarat CM competing with or mocking the UP CM? Suggest it would be best if the BJP government constitutes a 'National Renaming Council' to keep these Chief Ministers occupied, considering that's the only thing they're good at, and save their states from misgovernance," Mr Tharoor remarked.
"The dragon has been slayed," joked Congress MP Karti Chidambaram
Sharad Pawar's NCP, which is part of Maharashtra's ruling coalition, said the day was not far when the BJP would call the country Kamalastan.
https://t.co/Dq5APEh5zh— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 20, 2021
Is the Gujarat CM competing with or mocking the UP CM? Suggest it would be best if the BJP govt constitutes a 'National Renaming Council' to keep these CMs occupied, considering that's the only thing they're good at, & save their states from misgovernance. https://t.co/cnIpm5oaZr
The Dragon has been slayed! https://t.co/k5QAGx9uO4— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) January 20, 2021
Hallelujah! The dragon has been shown its place... oh wait, I meant dragonfruit. https://t.co/JtVly2gkki— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) January 20, 2021
"The BJP has now started branding itself on fruits also," NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said in a statement.
"We fear that the time may be not far when they would start addressing Hindustan as Kamalastan."
Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena, which leads the Maharashtra alliance, posted: ""Hallelujah! The dragon has been shown its place... oh wait, I meant dragonfruit."