PANAJI: A day after Goa's colourful Republic Day tableau dominated by a large green frog strumming a guitar rolled by Rajpath on Sunday, social media is abuzz with the amphibian motif.
While the motif of a frog is aimed at creating awareness about the Goa government's "Save the Frog" campaign designed to prevent poaching of the amphibian in Goa, the popular 'interpretation' of the motif according to a string of social media posts indicates something more tragi-comic.
With 15 out of 40 MLAs in the Goa legislative assembly having hopped parties since the state assembly elections in 2017, social media posts seem to sarcastically suggest that the frog is more representative of legislators "hopping" political parties.
"The #republicday tableau of #Goa, portraying the #political reality image of Goa to the #world dignitaries and #Indian citizens. #frogs #bebbo," says Alison Morenas from Margao. Bebo is the Konkani word for the frog.
"This Republic Day, Goa's Mascot "The Frog", truly signifies our politics & our politicians, who have become experts in jumping from one political party to another.
The rest of our country is not very different either! The Emperor of Frogs strums on his guitar, while our NATION burns!" says Candolim-based businessman Ricardo Rebelo.
A youth BJP leader Pranav Sanvordekar also took a dig at the float.
"Frog' on the tableau at #RepublicDay parade was successful in portraying the state of political affairs in #Goa..." he said.
Fifteen MLAs have quit the Congress and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party since the 2017 state assembly elections, to join the BJP.
Speaking to IANS on Monday, Siddesh Desai, proprietor of Vinayak Decorators a Goa-based agency appointed by the state government to execute the state tableau, said that the motif of the frog playing a guitar was in fact suggested by one of the screening committees appointed by the Defence Ministry, which curates the tableaux on display during Republic Day.
"We had gone with several designs. One of our designs had the motif of a frog as one of the many elements in our tableau, but one of the screening committees suggested that we train our spotlight on the frog, because of the Goa government's 'Save the Frog' campaign.
Goa is home to around 40 species of amphibians many of which are endemic to the region of the Western Ghats.
In Goa, the two largest species of frogs are the Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) and Jerdon's Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus crassus), both of which are unfortunately sought after by poachers because of their fleshy hind legs.
The increased poaching of these two frog species has now resulted in the Indian Bullfrog and Jerdon's Bullfrog being listed on the Schedule-I List of threatened species recognized by the Government of India, as well as the IUCN Red List recognized internationally.
But frog meat is still served on the sly in local restaurants and is referred to as "jumping chicken" in code.
Catching, killing and selling frogs, or serving frog meat in eating places contravenes the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.