Three days after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Badaun district leaders installed a new “saffron” statue of Baba Sahab Bhim Rao Ambedkar in the Dugraiya village with the help of district administration — after some anti-social elements damaged an older statue — the colour of the statue was changed to “blue” on Tuesday.
According to the local police administration, BSP district president Hemendra Gautam had installed the statue on April 7 and he himself requested the administration to change the colour probably after the matter came into media.
Sub Divisional Magistrate (Sadar) Parasnath Maurya said, “The previous statue of Babasaheb, shortlisted by a committee of the police and district administration, was barely three feet high. Later, a saffron statue was selected. The cost of this statue was Rs 22,000 and it was paid by the committee.”
Asked about the saffron hue, the SDM said, “The committee members had brought blue paint along, but the statue was installed before giving it a blue coat. Today, the statue has been repainted in blue.”
However, the incident prompted opposition parties to take pot-shots at the ruling BJP, which has often been accused of ‘saffronisation’.
“It was the BJP people who had forced Babasaheb to leave Hinduism and embrace Buddhism and today these people are enacting a drama of adopting Babasaheb. Till today, Babasaheb’s statue used to be either blue or white, but these people gave a saffron colour to the statue and made an effort to damage the dignity of Babasaheb. The disciples of Babasaheb are feeling angry,” Samajwadi Party leader and Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav said.
On Monday, Gautam had clarified himself on the “saffron” colour saying that a statue was damaged on April 7 and on getting the information he reached the spot with the local police to calm down the locals.
“Later I contacted in Agra for a new statue and I was then sent a photo of the new statue on my mobile phone and all the locals and BSP members present there approved the statue. After that we installed the same statue,” Gautam said.
The Kunwar Gaon police station in-charge Pradeep Yadab said that the colour of the statue was changed to blue after the matter came into media. However, he added that everything from approving the statue, installing it and then changing the colour was the decision of those people and the police have nothing to do with that. They just ensured the law and order situation, he added.
BSP district president Gautam was not available for a comment on the matter.
(With PTI inputs)