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Shah woos UP's boatman community with promise of 80-feet statue of deity

Shringverpur is mentioned as the capital of the famous kingdom of Nishadraj or the 'King of Fishermen'

BJP President Amit Shah with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Aditynath at the Sahakari Bandhu Sammelan, in Lucknow  on Saturday	Photo: pti

In a bid to woo the Nishad (boatman) community ahead of the final two phases of Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, BJP president Amit Shah Thursday promised to build an 80-feet tall statue of Nishadraj in Shringverpur in Allahabad district.

Addressing a series of rallies in Balrampur, Siddharthanagar, Sant Kabirnagar and Sultanpur on Thursday, Shah said, "The place where the Kewat (boat man) had washed the feet of Lord Ram, the government of Yogi Adityanath will construct a 80-feet-tall statue of Nishadraj."

"A grand memorial for Nishadraj worth Rs 34 crore will be built at Shringverpur," he added.

According to local folklore, it was at Shringverpur-- 45 km from Allahabad on Lucknow road-- that Lord Ram crossed river Ganga on his way to exile along with Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshman.

Shringverpur is mentioned as the capital of the famous kingdom of Nishadraj or the 'King of Fishermen'. The excerpt 'Sita, Ram and his brother came to Shringverpur' can be found in the epic Ramayan.

It is said that boatmen refused to let the trio cross the river following which, Nishadraj visited the site to resolve the issue. He offered to give them way only if Lord Rama let him wash his feet.

The permission was granted and it is mentioned that Nishadraj washed Lord Ram's feet with the water of Ganges and drank it to show his reverence towards him.

The place where Nishadraj washed the lord's feet has been marked by a platform and has been named 'Ramchura' in order to suffice the incident.

According to BJP leaders, the boatmen community is spread evenly across the state and constitutes nearly 13 per cent of the electorate.

"Some of the major sub-castes of the boatmen community are Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Dhuria, Raikwar, Dheemar, Batham, Manjhi and Saini," said UP Backward Class Finance and Development Corporation chairperson Baburam Nishad.

"As far as Lok Sabha seats are concerned, the community can swing the poll fortune in around 20 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state," he added.

Prior to taking up this charge, he was the vice-president of the BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit.

"Some of the Lok Sabha seats, where the boatmen and fishermen community could swing the polls are Firozabad, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Kairana, Machhlishahr and Jaunpur," Baburam Nishad said.

In Ghazipur, Phulpur, Sitapur, Jalaun, Fatehpur, Unnao, Gorakhpur, Ballia and Deoria the Nishad community has a significant presence as well, he added.