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Modi to release stamp on Suheldev

PM Narendra Modi.

PM Narendra Modi.  

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Ally accuses BJP of trying to appropriate Dalit-OBC icon

With the 2019 Lok Sabha election approaching, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to Uttar Pradesh have increased and his next stop is Ghazipur where he will release a postal stamp in the name of a backward caste-Dalit chieftain Suheldev on Saturday.

This comes amid cries by the BJP’s ally in U.P., the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, named after the icon, that it was trying to appropriate the legacy of the legendary medieval-era warrior-king and downplaying his caste identity.

Though Suheldev’s historical existence is shrouded in mystery, he is today popular as a caste icon among the Rajbhars (OBC) and the Pasis (second largest Dalit caste in U.P.), both of whom have been competing for his legacy.

The BJP-RSS have over the years aggressively tried to portray Suheldev as a Hindutva warrior who stopped the march of Muslim invader Ghazi Mian, a nephew of Mahmud Ghaznavi, in Bahraich and halted the spread of Islam in the region.

“A commemorative postal stamp on the Maharaja Suheldeo will be released by the Prime Minister in Ghazipur,” said the PMO in a statement.

Rally in Ghazipur

Mr. Modi will also address a rally in Ghazipur, which abuts his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

Om Prakash Rajbhar, president of the SBSP and a Cabinet Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, said he was not invited to the event despite the fact that Suheldev is the icon of his party and caste. The SBSP has boycotted the event and since last week have been staging a demonstration near the venue with a two-fold demand: that the postal stamp to be issued by Mr. Modi contain the caste name of Suheldev and the sub-categorisation of the OBC quota.

‘Erasing our history’

“They are tying to erase our history,” said Arun Rajbhar, SBSP general secretary.

”When they can issue stamps of Prithviraj Chauhan and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with full names, and rename Mughalsarai railway station to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station, what does it cost them to issue the stamp in the name of Maharaja Suheldev Rajbhar,” asked Mr. Arun Rajbhar.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:28:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/modi-to-release-stamp-on-suheldev/article25854145.ece

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