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Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the Shiv Sena mouthpiece "Saamna" editorial which criticised him for his readiness to move back to the Defence Ministry, in case he lost the August 23 Panaji by-poll, was based on "fake news".
In an interaction with students late on Saturday here, Parrikar said the "Congress dirty tricks" department was behind the fake news conspiracy and that he would comfortably win the by-poll by a big margin.
"Our opponents started a fake news site and I have not spoken to any media. I do not misquote. There was no misinterpretation. I did not speak at all. They only created a news and floated it everywhere. They did it in the name of 'Prime Goa News'," Parrikar told the students.
Local cable news channel 'Prime News Goa' has also complained to the police and poll officials claiming that the bogus news, which was circulated about the Chief Minister's imminent defeat, was created via a website which impersonated the identity of the news channel.
The website which ran the fake news is currently offline.
"I can't go around everywhere saying the news is bogus. But it spread on the internet and WhatsApp. People who have an axe to grind against me, have splashed it around," Parrikar said.
The Friday edition of Saamna, which is published from Mumbai, said: "The Prime Minister elevated Parrikar from Goa Chief Minister to the Defence Ministry, after he failed there miserably, he again returned to the state. Now, he goes around threatening that if he indeed fails to win the by-polls, he will go back to the Centre as Defence Minister."
"By such irresponsible and juvenile utterances, Parrikar has insulted Modi, who first promoted him to national politics, and later entrusted him with Goa's leadership after the BJP failed to secure a majority in last year's assembly elections in the state," the editorial said.
Parrikar also cautioned the students against another spate of bogus news which, he said, would continue until the culmination of the August 23 by-poll.
"You will hear a lot of bogus news until August 23 because the dirty tricks department of the Congress is a lot. They don't have votes but they have enough people to create this kind of manipulated news."