LUCKNOW: The removal of the statue of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru from Balsan Chauraha in Allahabad on Thursday drew angry protests from Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders on Saturday. The protestors attributed the move to state government’s ill intentions and termed it an attempt to do away with Nehru’s ideology.
They termed it as an insult to India’s first PM. However, local authorities said that the statue was removed in view of the ongoing beautification drive of in the city for the upcoming Kumbh Mela to be held in January 2019, during which a large number of outsiders were expected to throng the Sangam City. The move is aimed at broadening the roads to facilitate smooth traffic flow during the mela, they claimed. Chanting anti-Yogi slogans, the protestors charged the Uttar Pradesh government with trying to wipe out the memories and the ideologies of country’s first PM.
“In course of widening of roads, Balson crossing needed to be reduced a little bit in size as it seemed to be unwieldy. This particular roundabout has three statues. Nehru’s statue was coming in way of proposed layout. Hence it was removed and stalled at same place after acquiring around 10 feet of space,” the government clarified while responding to Opposition’s accusation that it was only Nehru’s statue targeted and those of Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna also present on the same crossing were not touched.
The authorities had also clarified that the said statue was removed and kept in an adjoining park for the time being while the works to the roundabout were being carried out. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) chief Raj Babbar tweeted: “The statue of late Rajiv Gandhi was vandalised in PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi. Statue of Jawahar Lal Nehru was lifted by crane for removing it in Allahabad. History will remember the arrogance of the BJP. We will not forget these pictures. This is our pain and this will be our inspiration also.”