BJP Doesn't Support a Culture of Statue-Building: Sunil Deodhar

Ruling out reinstalling Lenin’s statue, Deodhar says his government will instead build a statue of Tripura’s last king.

New Delhi: A little more than a week after Lenin’s statue was pulled down in Tripura’s Belonia, Sunil Deodhar, state’s senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, has dismissed any possibility of installing a new statue of the communist leader and architect of the Russian revolution.

Deodhar is considered to be one of the primary movers behind the BJP victory in Tripura.

At a press conference, Deodhar said his party doesn’t believe in the culture of statues even though it does not support tearing down Lenin’s statue.  The money instead, emphasised the BJP leader, should be spent on providing good governance. “This is not our culture,” said the BJP leader. He went on to add, “Wherever such incidents have taken place, local authorities should take stern action against those involved… But we (BJP) do not believe in only building statues. Working for the people is more important than statues.”

Earlier, Belonia’s municipal authorities had been unsure about what to do with the damaged statue.  “We initially let the damaged statue lay there as it was since we were not sure about the mood of the people. We wanted to things to subside a bit. But, now, as per instructions from higher authorities, we have decided to take the statue and store it in our office premises,” Belonia Municipal Council’s CEO Amit Ghosh told PTI.

Ironically, Deodhar informed that the Tripura government will make an exception in its stand against the culture of building statues. The state government, Deodhar added, will install only one statue – that of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman Manikya Bahadur, Tripura’s last king.  The statue will be installed at the Agartala airport, which will also be named after the king.

Deodhar’s assertion about his party’s statue-building culture is, however, not borne out by the party’s agenda in other states. The BJP has announced its plans to install statues and memorials dedicated to its ideological icons in states like Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the party. The Gujarat government, for instance, is currently making preparations to inaugurate the Statue of Unity, a 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – a project that is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s heart. The statue is supposed to be inaugurated on the occasion of Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary on October 31.

At the media conference, Deodhar targeted Manik Sarkar, the former Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief minister who had presided over the state for 15 years.  Describing Sarkar as “good for nothing”, Deodhar alleged that the Congress had acted in collusion with the “corrupt” communist party. “Manik Sarkar was good for nothing and was a hopeless leader,” he claimed.

Following the BJP victory in Tripura, a string of vandalisations had taken place in different parts of the country. A statue of Periyar was vandalised in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupattur while on his Facebook page, BJP’s national general secretary asked, “Who is Lenin? What is the relevance he holds in India? What is the link between communism and India? Lenin’s statues were destroyed in Tripura, tomorrow, in Tamil Nadu, casteist Periyar’s statues will be destroyed.”

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