Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that his government was trying to rectify the “mistakes” of the previous governments which did not honour deserving warriors and leaders as he laid the foundation stone for a statue of warrior king Suheldev of Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich.
He also unveiled through video conferencing programmes for beautification of Shravasti, Chittora Lake and Bahraich.
Speaking on the occasion, he accused previous governments of not honouring deserving leaders like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B R Ambedkar.
“It is unfortunate that deserving leaders were not given the place of pride they deserved,” Modi said, adding his government was trying to rectify the mistakes of the past governments.
The projects, which include construction of a 4.20-metre high equestrian statue of the warrior king Suheldev, will also focus on the development of various tourist amenities including a cafeteria, guest house and a children’s park.
Besides the projects, Modi inaugurated a medical college in Bahraich named after Suheldev.
He also lauded the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and leading the state on the path of development.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attended the event.
King Suheldev, an icon of the Rajbhar community, had defeated and killed the Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud in a battle on the banks of the Chittora lake in Bahraich in 1033.
After coming to power, the Modi government has taken concerted steps to popularise Suheldev.
Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the prime minister had released a postal stamp in the memory of Suheldev and flagged off a superfast train ‘Suheldev Express’ that runs tri-weekly between Ghazipur in Purvanchal (UP) and Anand Vihar in Delhi.
Earlier, in February 2016, then BJP chief Amit Shah had unveiled a statue of Suheldev and also launched a book on him, in Bahraich district near the Indo-Nepal border, where the medieval king enjoys a legendary status.
During his tenure as UP chief minister, Rajnath Singh, the present Defence minister, had unveiled the statue of Suheldev at an important road crossing in Lucknow.
Rajbhar community members, who consider Suheldev as their icon, constitute a significant percentage of the Purvanchal electorate and are regarded as the second politically dominant force to reckon with after the Yadavs in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Since the Rajbhar vote bank is not intact, different parties try to woo them for electoral support from time to time, say political observers, pointing out that Tuesday’s event was taking place when UP assembly polls were less than a year away.