What Mayawati’s Promise To Build A Grand Statue For Sage Parashurama Means To Uttar Pradesh Politics

by Swarajya Staff - Aug 15, 2020 04:09 PM +05:30 IST
What Mayawati’s Promise To Build A Grand Statue For Sage Parashurama Means To Uttar Pradesh Politics Mayawati
  • Mayawati announced recently that she will build a grand statue of the Hindu deity Parashurama — a Brahmin — if she returns to power.

With eyes on the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has upped her work for winning the support of Brahmins in the state.

The police encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey, a Brahmin, saw Mayawati stirring Uttar Pradesh politics.

She attacked Yogi Adityanath for this action. Congress leader Jitin Prasada is making efforts to organise Brahmins too. Congress and BSP have attacked the BJP for 'neglecting' Brahmins, and currently, that's all these two parties have in common.

Following the politics on Dubey's encounter, the Ram Mandir bhoomipujan arrived as the next catalyst.

The bhoomipujan at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has added to the pace of caste politics for the opponents of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

They are competing with each other to grab the attention of the Brahmin community. Statues — a trendy element during the previous decade in UP politics — returns as a role player.

The statue in question this time is a statue that both the Samajwadi Party and the BSP are promising to the Brahmins of Uttar Pradesh.

Mayawati announced recently that she will build a grand statue of the Hindu deity Parashurama — a Brahmin — if she returns to power.

Her announcement came after Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav had made a similar announcement, saying he will build a grand statue of Parashurama, previously.

With Yadav trying to woo Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati would not want to lose even an inch of the Brahmin emotion territory she is trying to rebuild, to this old rival.

Mayawati has been quoted as saying: “When the BSP comes to power, modern hospitals and community centres will be constructed, especially in the name of Parashurama — considered the symbol and pride of the Brahmin community — as well as an icon of other religions and castes.”

Read her statement again. Mayawati's effort at drawing an inclusive caste circle — by keeping the Brahmins in the centre of the caste circle — for her march towards 2022, becomes clear.

Not only that, she is linking Parashurama with the people-centric development in the state — if she returns to power.

This comes as a reminder of her "social engineering" efforts and experiment during the previous decades, which led to her impressive win in 2007.

It's natural that Mayawati won't let her three opponents — Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party — mingle with UP's Brahmin community freely, and without any strategic hurdle from her political armour in the current scenario.

Brahmin support had played a decisive role in the 2007 election. It was Mayawati's best performance — built gradually by establishing a dialogue with the Brahmins.

In doing so, Mayawati continued to maintain her grip on her support base in Muslim and Hindu caste diversities. Things would, however, tilt in Yadav's favour in 2012.

Just last year, Yadav and Mayawati tried to stand on a common point, which was to stop the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party from sweeping Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The two parties fought the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in an alliance. It failed to stand the strong tide of the voters' support for the BJP and for UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The short-lived bonhomie between SP and BSP is history now. The present is, however, intriguing.

A year after their alliance faced defeat, Mayawati is making it clear that her opponent is anyone and any party that enjoys the support of Brahmins or is trying to win the community over.

Next. Her stance on UP Chief Minister Adityanath, and the government run by him, comes across as stronger than her stance against the BJP in general.

She has accused the Adityanath government of 'doublespeak' on Hindus and Brahmins in the state. On the police encounter of Vikas Dubey last month, Mayawati accused the Adityanath government of 'harassing' Brahmins.

Being a former chief minister from the Dalit community herself, Mayawati, perhaps, is noticing the surge in Hindu emotion surrounding the Ram Mandir bhoomipujan.

For the Hindus of UP, the emotion for Ram Mandir never stands separately from the Ramjanmbhumi movement struggle, which is stapled in history as largely a Dalit-powered Hindu movement.

Perhaps, Mayawati is noticing how the BJP might be at an advantage here, and SP at a disadvantage.

Winning the affection of Brahmins in UP, hence, becomes important for an added advantage.

For both SP and BSP, the promise of building a grand statue for Parashurama could be a grand strategy.

Any card played well in UP politics by Mayawati, hereon, means added advantage to BSP's sagging numbers.

Congress, on the other hand, yet, has not a tangible element such as a statue or a temple to promise, unlike its opponents.

Last. The freshly minted reverence for Parashurama in SP and BSP leaders is not-so-good news for the communists parties in Indian politics and for the anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin and anti-Kshatriya national politics narrative that emerges from New Delhi and NCR studios.

Any move from the Left to show the warrior Brahmin sage in bad light, just to please other castes, or for caste politics, would mean utter disadvantage.

Simply because, Mayawati's BSP has made it clear that it is taking other castes 'along' in its stance towards Sage Parashurama.

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