Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday announced that a 21-foot tall statue of former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be installed at the portal of ‘Lok Bhawan’ in Lucknow.
Lok Bhawan houses the CM’s Office, apart from top government functionaries, including the chief secretary. The state cabinet meetings are also held at the newly constructed edifice, which is located diametrically opposite UP Vidhan Sabha precincts.
Adityanath made the announcement about the statue after paying tributes to Vajpayee on the occasion of his 94th birth anniversary at Lok Bhawan. Earlier, the state government had revealed plans to install statues of Vajpayee and mystic Swami Vivekananda in Lucknow as mark of respect to their contribution to society.
Besides, two other figurines measuring 12.5 foot after Mahant Avaidyanath and Mahant Digvijay Nath, the seers of the powerful Nath monastic order to which the CM himself belongs to, would be erected in Gorakhpur, the home turf of Adityanath and the seat of Gorakhnath Peeth.
According to sources, the government had started work on the installation of these statues at their purported places even as the opposition parties have slammed the Adityanath dispensation for allegedly splurging public money on ostentatious tasks, such as statues for gaining publicity.
Meanwhile, the CM in his address noted the former PM always conducted himself as the guardian of democracy and his public life was worth emulating owing to his alacrity, dedication and selfless politics.
Adityanath underlined Vajpayee was the first to envision free food grain distribution to alleviate hunger deaths in those times. He announced the state government would observe his anniversary as good governance day. “Atal ji boldly implemented policies for the bottom of pyramid sections of society and the entire country still embody his ideals.”
Earlier, the Adityanath government had announced to erect a 221 metre tall Lord Ram statue in Ayodhya, which would stand 38 metres taller than the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ dedicated to Sardar Patel in Gujarat, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October this year.
The proposed bronze statue would measure 150 metres stop a pedestal of 50 metres and covered under an umbrella hood of another 20 metres, thus totalling 221 metres. The design depicts Ram holding a metal bow in his left arm while holding an arrow in his right arm.
In fact, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh has urged the state government to install the statue of Ram’s consort Sita next to the proposed 221 meter Ram sculpture.
Interestingly, while sitting in opposition during the Mayawati government (2007-12) in UP, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was known to attack the regime for allegedly wasting taxpayers’ money on monuments and statues.