BY AMITA VERMA
Lucknow, Aug 10 (IANS) The political arena in Uttar Pradesh is now primed for a new battle – this time between Ram and Parshuram.
The ‘Bhumi Pujan’ of the Ram temple last week has enthused the BJP cadres who are now gearing up to take the credit for the Ram temple.
The party will project the Ram temple issue as a fulfillment of its promise made to millions of Hindus and will make every effort to keep the issue alive till the 2022 Assembly election.
“When Assembly polls are held in 2022, the Ram temple will have taken shape and, by 2024, when Lok Sabha elections are due, the temple will be inaugurated,” said a senior BJP functionary.
With the Ram temple, the BJP once again plans to reboot its ‘Hindu First’ campaign which will bring OBCs and Dalits into its fold.
To counter this, the Samajwadi Party has been quick to cash in on the growing resentment among Brahmins against the BJP on the issue of Vikas Dubey, the dreaded gangster killed in a police ‘encounter’ last month.
The spate of encounters in which majority of the criminals killed were Brahmins, has left the community feeling ‘slighted and targeted.’
The Ram versus Parshuram war actually indicates the Brahmin-Thakur tussle that has dominated UP politics for decades.
Ram belonged to the Kshatriya community and Parshuram was a Brahmin. Both are said to be avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also belongs to the Kshatriya community and Brahmins are feeling neglected in his regime.
The Samajwadi Party has announced that it will erect a 108 feet tall statue of Parshuram in Lucknow and a grand temple would also be built, besides an educational research centre.
SP leader Abhishek Mishra said that the project was still being finalised and the ‘Parshuram Chetna Peeth’ would supervise the project which would be completed through crowdfunding.
He said, “I am a part of SP and it is obvious that the party is a part of the project. Contrary to claims, SP is not averse to the Brahmin community. It was the Akhilesh Yadav government that had declared a holiday on Parshuram Jayanti and this was later cancelled by the Yogi Adityanath government.”
Mishra said that it was the Akhilesh government that had built the Janeshwar Mishra Park in Lucknow and installed a larger-than-life statue of the Brahmin leader in the park.
The move to erect the statue of Parshuram, who is a Brahmin icon, is apparently an attempt by the Samajwadi Party to win over Brahmins, who constitute about 11 per cent of the population in Uttar Pradesh but are known as effective opinion makers.
With SP leading the Parshuram campaign, BSP president Mayawati was quick to follow.
She announced on Sunday that when her party returns to power, she would install a ‘bigger’ statue of Parshuram.
“If SP is so concerned about Parshuram, they should have installed his statue when they were in power,” she said.
She said that her party had always shown respect towards great men, irrespective of their political ideology.
The Congress, on the other hand, has not issued any official statement on Brahmins and Parshuram but a sizeable section of the party, through a WhatsApp group – has been promoting the Brahmin cause. The group has been repeatedly castigating UPCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu for ‘insulting Brahmins and promoting OBC leaders who do not subscribe to the Congress ideology.’
BY AMITA VERMA