Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has decided to put up statues of icons from Other Backward Castes (OBC) and upper castes such as Raja Suheldeo, who was the king of Shravasti in 11th century and belonged to the Rajbhar community (OBC) in the parks and memorials built by former CM Mayawati. The BSP supremo, during her stint as the chief minster of UP, had built several parks and memorials as a tribute to Dalit icons such as B R Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. As per a report by Indian Express, these memorials and parks will now house statues of other leaders too. Suheldeo’s statue will be placed both inside and outside the Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal (Ambedkar Memorial).
Mayawati, in April 2009, had placed 7-foot tall white marble statues of various Dalit leaders including herself at the site. Besides Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati, other statues are of Ramabai Ambedkar, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, Kabir Das, Sant Ravidas, Jyotiba Phule, Birsa Munda, Narayana Guru and Guru Ghasidas. The total cost of the statues alone was estimated to be Rs 1.08 crore.
The statue of Suheldeo will be in bronze,16-18 feet tall, inside the Ambedkar Memorial. Speaking to Indian Express, Cabinet Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Om Prakash Rajbhar said, “There are 13 platforms outside the Ambedkar Memorial. Many of them are vacant. A white marble statue of Raja Suheldeo will be placed on one platform. Another bronze statue will be placed inside the memorial.”
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Rajbhar is the national president of Suheldeo Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state. The saffron party, over the past few years, has included Raja Suheldeo in its ideologues and even last month CM Adityanath had attended a ‘Hindu Vijayotsav’ organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Lucknow as a tribute to Suheldeo’s victory over Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masood.
Rajbhar also said that statues of others icons such as Ahilyabai Holkar, Savitribai Phule, Daksh Prajapati, Guhraj Nishad (all OBCs), Maharana Pratap and Prithviraj Chauhan (both upper caste) would also be installed soon.