25-ft Atal statue installed at Lok Bhawan, Modi may unveil itUpdated: Dec 09, 2019 21:49 IST
LUCKNOW: A 25-ft bronze statue of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was installed at the Lok Bhawan building here on Monday evening and is expected to be unveiled on or around December 25, Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.
The Yogi Adityanath government has reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to unveil the statue created by Jaipur’s famous sculptor Rajkumar Pandit.
Pandit was also in the race for making Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’, though the contract was finally bagged by Larsen and Toubro, which promised to, and did complete the project two years earlier than the timeline Pandit promised.
The PMO is yet to confirm Modi’s availability to unveil the statue but government officials and BJP leaders were hopeful that he would do the needful.
The 25-ft Vajpayee’s statue is going to be the tallest statue in the state, as of now.
Vajpayee’s life-size statue, commissioned on March 9, 2019 to Jaipur’s Works for Artist Foundry, was mounted on an 8ft high base, prepared by the UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited, the state agency which constructed the Lok Bhawan.
The statue has come up at the spot where a cut-out of Vajpayee, that overlooked the imposing entrance to the Lok Bhawan, was symbolically placed so far.
Vajpayee was BJP’s tallest leader who represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha for a record five consecutive terms, which also included his three stints as Prime Minister.
Adityanath has taken keen interest in the construction of the Vajpayee statue and had only recently rushed director, culture, Shishir Singh to Jaipur to check progress of the statue, officials said. Though the exact estimate is yet not known, officials said, the contract for the Vajpayee statue was given for Rs 89, 60, 000.
Only last year, a 12.5ft bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, made by Maharashtra’s Uttam Pacharne, was unveiled at the Raj Bhawan by the then governor Ram Naik and the chief minister.
Four more statues – all 12.5 ft high – those of Adityanath’s revered gurus Mahant Avaidyanath and Mahant Digvijayanath, another statue of former UP chief minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna as well as that of Bhartendu Harishchandra -- widely regarded as the father of modern Hindi literature and Hindi theatre – are nearly complete, say officials.
“All those statues are near-ready and being given finishing touches,” an official said.
While Bhartendu Harishchandra’s statue would be installed at the Bhartendu Natya Akademi in Gomtinagar, the place and positioning of Bahuguna’s statue as well as those of spiritual gurus from Gorakhnath Mutt, of which Adityanath is the head priest, are yet to be decided.
“Unlike in previous governments when statues were mostly sanctioned on political lines, the Adityanath government is sanctioning statues of leaders which inspire our young generation,” said a UP minister, requesting anonymity.
In their regimes, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party governments as well as previous BJP governments under Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh had also sanctioned several statues in the state.