JAIPUR: The Congress-ruled government in Rajasthan will maintain the memorial of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, the founder of Jan Sangh. Built by the previous BJP government, this monument along with such others in the state will now be conserved by the government for which CM Ashok Gehlot has announced a budget of Rs 1 crore.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was born in Dhankya village near Jaipur and to make people more aware of his contributions, the BJP had got this monument built. In September 2018, the memorial and Panorama were inaugurated by BJP president Amit Shah and the then CM Vasundhara Raje.
When the BJP lost power in December 2018, the memorial building was kept locked up.
In fact, along with Deendayal's, the Heritage Promotion and Conservation Council had built memorials of several folk deities and great personalities during the BJP rule. But no budget was earmarked for their maintenance.
Ashok Gehlot has now tried to divert the political discourse by giving a budget for the maintenance of a dozen monuments including that of Deendayal Upadhyay.
For years, Congress and BJP leaders in Rajasthan have been accusing each other of ending the programmes and closing the institutions started in each other's tenure. But by allotting funds for the maintenance of monuments created by the BJP, the Gehlot government has made an attempt to end the debate.
On the other hand, the decision has given rise to many discussions in the Congress circles.
Political observers say that Gehlot, one of the few Congress leaders who openly attacks RSS, may now be making an effort to reduce bitterness with BJP. Some leaders are linking this attempt by the CM with the recent political developments in Karnataka - where a Congress-backed government was brought down by the BJP - and see it as a move to avoid such situation in Rajasthan.
During the recent budget session, Gehlot had also revived the tradition of inviting all the MLAs to his residence for dinner to re-establish the harmony with the Opposition which was missing during Raje's tenure. This dinner was attended by senior BJP party leaders including leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria and deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore.