Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday announced a memorial to be built in Bhopal to commemorate legendary queen Padmavati.
Chouhan’s announcement on the memorial during a ‘shastra pooja’ (worship of weapon) programme organised by the Rajput community in Indore on Tuesday came almost three years after he announced a ban on the Bollywood film Padmaavat and a memorial for Padmavati. He had also announced that a chapter on the legendary queen will be included in the school syllabus in the state.
“I have reserved a piece of land at Manuabhan ki Tekari in Bhopal for the memorial on Maharani Padmavati. A grand memorial will be built over there,” Chouhan said.
Reiterating his announcement to include a chapter on Padmavati in the school syllabus from the next
session Chouhan said, “Besides, two prizes carrying Rs 2 lakh cash and a citation each to be named after legendary warrior Maharana Pratap and Rani Padmavati as ‘Maharana Shourya Puruskar’ and ‘Padmini Puruskar’ will be instituted.”
Chouhan also attacked filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and said the film was “a blow to the society’s honour”. The CM also announced withdrawal of criminal cases lodged against protesters in 2018 for protesting against the movie.
Bhansali’s film on Padmavati had faced stiff resistance from Rajput organizations which alleged that it distorted history.
While Chouhan was making the announcements some members of the gathering including women shouted slogans against caste-based reservations. They also said, “Mamaji (As Chouhan calls himself Mama of children of the state) we want jobs.”
Chouhan during a programme organised by SC/ST government employees in 2016 had announced that “duniya ki koi taqat, koi mai ka laal aarakshan khatam nahi kar sakta (no one in the world can do away with reservation). That statement which agitated mainly upper castes people particularly in Gwalior-Chambal region cost the BJP dear in 2018 assembly elections as the video clip containing the speech did the rounds ahead of polls. The party suffered a major setback in the region having managed to win only 7 seats against the Congress’ 26 whereas it had won 20 seats against the Congress’ 12 in 2013 assembly elections.
Out of the 28 assembly seats where bypolls are going to be held, 16 of the constituencies fall under the same region.
The opposition Congress dismissed Chouhan’s announcement as a publicity stunt to woo a particular section of voters ahead of bypolls.
“Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should also make it clear as to what stopped him from implementing his own announcements on Rani Padmavati when he himself was the chief minister in 2017 and 2018 as well. What can be more unfortunate than playing politics in the name of legendary warriors of our country? He should at least spare the great personalities of the country and not use them as means to garner votes,” Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said.
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