The Uttar Pradesh culture directorate has issued an order to the Agra district administration, asking them to replace one of the two statues of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar inside the Agra municipal corporation (AMC) premises with that of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
Five-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, Jagan Prasad Garg, had written a letter in this regard to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He had requested the Chief Minister to order the installation of Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyay in the AMC premises.
“The move is not aimed to insult or hurt the sentiments of Dalits but to motivate them. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was a champion of Dalit rights and his statue would make the community proud,” the BJP lawmaker said.
“There are two statues of Ambedkar in premises of AMC. While one was inaugurated by former chief minister Mayawati during the BSP regime, the other is an old one, which can be restored and installed somewhere else. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay statue can replace it,” the BJP MLA added.
Dalit councillors have taken a strong objection on the state government’s order. “The Dalit community will take to streets if the statue is installed. If they had objection on two statues of Ambedkar inside AMC premises, they should have raised the objection earlier. But replacing it with one of the BJP icons is a great provocation,” said Dharmveer Singh, councillor of Ratanpura, a reserved SC/ST ward.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Agra unit president Bharatendu Arun also raised objection saying, “This act will create more social gap and there will be repercussions. The civic body must prevent it.”