The Uttar Pradesh culture directorate has issued a directive to the Agra district administration to replace one statue of the father of the Constitution, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, with that of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. Two statues of Ambedkar are currently in the premises of the Agra Municipal Corporation.
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.
An order on this regard was issued with effect from April 25 by deputy director Ajay Kumar Agarwal. A copy of the same is available with Zee News. It directs the Agra district magistrate and senior superintendent of police (SSP) to maintain law and order as Ambedkar’s statue is replaced.
Speaking with Zee News over phone, Garg said, “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.”
“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.
More than 90 per cent employees in Agra’s civic body are from the Dailt community and 24 out of 100 councillors are from the Scheduled Caste community.
The move has, however, not gone down well with councillors hailing from the Dalit community. They have objected strongly to the state government’s order. “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,” Ratanpura councillor Dharmveer Singh. He represents a ward reserved for members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
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.”
AMC commissioner Arun Prakash said, “The statue will only be replaced after discussion on the civic assembly floor with mayor and councillors.”