Lucknow, Nov 28 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government has directed authorities in 10 districts to raise the boundary walls and install entry gates for Ramlila grounds, leaving the Opposition fuming over what it sees as a pro-Hindutva card of the Yogi Adityanath-led dispensation ahead of 2019 polls.
“Ramlila grounds should be identified as per revenue records, Ramlila committees and local beliefs and 6-8 feet high boundary walls, having murals related to the Ramayana, should be built so that the entire place is developed as an artistic Ramayana premises,” Special Secretary of Culture Department Shishir said in a recent order.
The order was issued to the district magistrates (DM) of Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Bareilly, Varanasi, Chitrakoot, Ayodhya, Allahabad, Firozabad, Agra and Saharanpur.
The grounds should have adequate arrangements for drinking water and power supply, it said.
The order suggests that the entry gates of these grounds be named after Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Mithila, Janakpur and Panchvati — places associated with the Ramayana.
A committee, chaired by the respective DMs, will assess the proposals for development of Ramlila grounds and decide on the rent, among other things, after the work is complete.
After a ground has been developed, it will be handed over to a Ramlila committee on the condition that it will be used for other cultural events, besides ‘Ramlila’ — an enactment of the life of Lord Ram.
The government’s decision has not gone down well with the Opposition, which is viewing it as Hindutva push ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
“The promises made by the BJP in polls have not been fulfilled. As 2019 elections are near, the move is nothing but pushing the Hindutva agenda to polarise voters,” Samajwadi Party leader Rajpal Kashyap told PTI.
“We believe in development of the state and works initiated by the previous Akhilesh Yadav government have set an example which it (BJP) should follow, instead of indulging in gimmicks,” he said.
Congress leader Mukesh Singh Chauhan also termed the decision as a “political gimmick” of the BJP and said it will not serve any “political purpose”.
Earlier, the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had renamed Allahabad and Faizabad districts as Prayagraj and Ayodhya respectively.
UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla had said that by changing the name of Allahabad district, the state government had “rectified the mistake made by Akbar”.
Last week, the Uttar Pradesh government announced that a 221-metre bronze statue of Lord Ram will be built on the banks of river Sarayu in Ayodhya.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.