As the countdown to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections begins, the politics of statues get going in right earnest.
Various political parties are using statues to attract and consolidate various caste vote banks in their favour.
Lord Parshuram, the icon of Brahmins, has emerged as a top favourite with political parties who see the Parshuram factor as an effective tool to woo Brahmins, who are believed to be upset with the ruling BJP for having sidelined them.
BJP leader Shyam Prakash Dwiwedi in Prayagraj has got a 16 feet statue of Parshuram ready for installation.
The statue was taken around the city in a procession on Saturday.
Dwiwedi, who is also the national president of Brahmin Samaj Utthan Sewa Santhan, said, “We plan to install statues of Lord Parshuram in all 75 districts of the state. We will invite saints and seers and also our (read BJP) leaders to the functions. It is because of the blessings of Lord Parshuram that the BJP is in power at the Centre and in the state. We will also inform the guests about the achievements of the Modi and Yogi governments at these functions.”
The Samajwadi Party (SP) has also announced that it will install a 108 feet tall statue of Parshuram at the Janeshwar Mishra Park in Lucknow.
Former SP minister Abhishek Mishra, who is supervising the project, said that the statue is being prepared in Jaipur.
Though the date for the installation of the statue has not yet been announced, sources said it could be ‘sometime before the 2022 Assembly polls.’
This is the first time that the Samajwadi Party has shown its inclination towards Parshuram and it is obviously aimed at wooing Brahmin votes.
The statue politics, meanwhile, is on in full swing among the Nishad centric parties.
These parties have propped up former bandit queen-turned-politician Phoolan Devi as their icon.
The Nishad Party, led by Sanjay Nishad, has been demanding installation of Phoolan Devi’s statue in Gorakhpur.
The Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) of Bihar which is making its electoral debut in Uttar Pradesh, has announced that it will distribute Phoolan statues in every Nishad home so that her presence is felt by each member of the community.
“We are going to take Phoolan to every Nishad home. She championed the cause of the poor and downtrodden and we will make sure she is adequately revered,” said a VIP leader.