A poster depicting newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya as Lord Krishna, other politicians including chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as one of the Kauravas and the state as Draupadi in Varanasi has triggered a controversy with the ruling Samajwadi Party accusing the saffron party of trying to tarnish the CM’s image.
The poster, which went viral on social media, was released ahead of Maurya’s first visit to the temple town.
CM Yadav, his cabinet colleague Azam Khan, Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi are shown disrobing UP.
The poster depicts a scene from the Mahabharata where Krishna rescues Draupadi from Duryodhana trying to disrobe her in the presence of her husbands, the Pandavas, and other members of the family.
A case was registered in Varanasi against BJP worker Rupesh Pandey who put up the poster, news agency ANI reported.
Slogans on the poster read Rakshamam Keshawah or Save me Keshava, another name of Krishna, and ‘Kaliyug mein Keshav updesh hi nahin dete ranbhoomi mein yudh bhi karte hain (In Kaliyuga, Krishna not only preaches but he also fights in the battleground).
The controversial poster shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national BJP president Amit Shah as well. It also carries the photograph of one Rupesh Pandey claiming to be a ‘BJP worker’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has distanced itself from the poster saying it does not have any association with it and Maurya claimed he has no idea who Pandey is.
“We have no idea from where this poster appeared. We will look into the matter. It has not been done by the party,” media in-charge of the BJP in east UP Sanjay Bhardwaj said.
“I have no idea about any such poster. I don’t know from where it appeared and who created it. I have just come to know from you (media persons) about the poster issue. I have asked Kashi region BJP president Laxman Acharya to carry out a probe,” Maurya said.
He said Acharya would submit the report within a week and action will be taken on the basis of probe report.
Pandey, however, claimed to be a diehard fan of Maurya and a dedicated worker of the BJP for last two and half decades.
“I strongly believe that the BJP will do well under the leadership of Keshav Prasad Maurya in the upcoming elections. The party will certainly get UP rid of SP and BSP’s caste-based politics. The BJP would form a government in the state,” Pandey said.
Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the state early next year.
Samajwadi Party city unit president Rajkumar Jaiswal lodged a complaint against Pandey for sticking the posters at various locations in the city and defaming the SP state chief at the Kotwali police station.
Jaiswal said the posters hurt the sentiments of Samajwadi Party workers and they would not tolerate the move.
SP workers burnt an effigy of Maurya near the BJP office in Gulab Bagh on Friday.
“I am deeply hurt by such a depiction of my party leaders. The BJP is upset over the popularity of Akhilesh Yadav. That is why they are resorting to such acts. The public will teach the BJP a lesson in the upcoming assembly elections,” SP district unit chief Satish Fauji said.
Kotwali police station inspector Sriprakash Gupta said a case has been registered against Pandey under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) following a complaint by SP leaders. He also said that a section of the information act has also been imposed in the complaint.
Gupta added that an investigation is on and action would be taken those found guilty.