Rebel Shiv Sena leader minister Eknath Shinde's revolt has caused a major earthquake in Maharashtra politics and tremors are felt in the virtual world with the Thane strongman and minister of urban development trending for the third consecutive day on social media.
While the final result on the vertical split in Shiv Sena is awaited with speculations on the Mumbai streets on who will win the 'match' between Shinde and Thackeray, the metaverse is siding with the rebel group. Shiv Sena chief and CM Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar and several other Maharashtra political heavyweights in the metaverse have taken a beating with newbie Shinde trouncing them as the most searched person online.
Shinde is the man of the moment and the most searched person online. The rebellion has sparked renewed interest in Maharashtra politics with 'Who is Eknath Shinde' asked most online. The netizens' curiosity about Eknath Shinde is not restricted to India but also in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He has been the most searched on Google trend for three consecutive days. Unlike the prominent Thackeray name, little information about Shinde is available online.
“People are searching for information, videos and news about him on Google. He is currently trending even in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Middle East,” says social media analysts Mihir Desai. Shinde remained on the top search trend across the country at 64 per cent, while in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia about 48 per cent people have searched for information about Shinde since the rebellion made headlines on Tuesday.
“As the political turmoil rages in Maharashtra, Shinde has managed to upsurp Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena, Devendra Fadnavis and Sharad Pawar on the internet,” added Desai. Shinde has challenged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and created a split in the Shiv Sena.
The revolt called on June 21 with the Shinde camp claiming support of 46 MLAs, including six independents, all camping at a Guwahati luxury hotel.