After Lord Ram, leaders turn to Krishna ahead of UP poll

Krishna chants gained more currency when Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav invoked the deity. 

Though the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya continues to dominate poll-eve politics in Uttar Pradesh, the deity’s subsequent incarnation Lord Krishna too has made an entry in the political arena with the ruling party and the opposition repeatedly invoking him. 

So far, God Krishna’s torchbearers have been the current and a previous chief minister, a deputy CM, deputy speaker of the legislative assembly, a state cabinet minister and Mathura MP Hema Malini.

UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya stirred the cauldron on December 1, making a remark that seemed to suggest that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is “preparing” for a grand temple in Mathura — after the temple projects in Ayodhya and Varanasi.

In recent months, right-wing Hindu outfits have moved local courts seeking the installation of a Krishna idol in Aurangzeb-era Shahi Idgah mosque, which they claim is the “actual birthplace” of the deity.

The mosque is located close to the current Krishna temple in the “Janmasthan” complex in Mathura.

UP’s Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, who hails from Mathura, last month too appeared to indirectly lobby for a new temple or an expansion to the existing Mathura temple.

“If the Krishna temple is not built in Mathura, would it be built in Lahore,” he said.

Krishna chants gained more currency when Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav invoked the deity.

On Monday, he claimed that the deity comes to him in his dreams every night, telling the opposition leader that he would form the government in the upcoming assembly polls and establish a “Ram Rajya” in UP.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath hit back on Tuesday.

In a veiled attack, he accused the SP president of not doing anything for Mathura and other religious places linked to Lord Krishna when he was the CM. Instead, Adityanath termed the previous SP government ‘worshippers of Kans”, referring to the tyrant who was slain by Krishna.

He accused the previous government of creating a Kans that resulted in Mathura’s Jawahar Bagh incident in which 29 people were killed in June 2016, when police tried to evict squatters who were backed by cult leader Ram Vriksh Yadav.

Addressing a public gathering in Aligarh, Adityanath said while he inaugurates a power project there, others dream in Lucknow.

“Lord Krishna would come in their dreams, and tell them to shed tears over their failures. The BJP government is doing the work that they haven’t been able to do,” he said.

In their dreams, Adityanath said, Lord Krishna must have told them that when they were in power, they “failed” to do anything for Mathura, Barsana, Vrindavan, Gokul and Baldev.

“Nobody bothered about Lord Krishna during that time. They were worshippers of Kans,” he said.

UP assembly’s deputy speaker Nitin Agarwal also spoke on Mathura in Hardoi.

“The BJP won the 500-year-old battle of Ayodhya and a grand Ram temple is being built there. Kashi too has been put on the international arena, and Mathura is the place of Thakur ji (Lord Krishna). If the BJP government does not develop the temples of Mathura, then which government will do it?” he said.

On December 30, Adityanath invoked Krishna in Pilibhit, saying that his government is reviving the flute-making industry in the district.

“Work is going on to restore the flute, which Lord Krishna once played. Your flute was recognised almost 5,000 years ago by Lord Shri Krishna. But the previous governments had forgotten this,” he said.

Ashutosh Varshney, convenor of Ram Seva Trust, Prayagraj, said it is only natural that Krishna is being mentioned now.

“Lord Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who appears in the Treta Yug. Lord Krishna is the subsequent incarnation, and he appeared in the Dwapar Yug. So, if the political narrative is moving from Lord Ram towards Lord Krishna, then it seems to be natural.”

But former Congress Legislative Party leader Pradeep Mathur, who represented Mathura four times in the UP assembly, accused the BJP of diverting attention from the real issues of development.

“Adityanath ji can be a follower of Lord Krishna, Akhilesh ji can be a follower of Lord Krishna. But it is the Brajvasi (residents of the Braj region), who have the right to Lord Krishna, and vice versa,” he told PTI.

“The ongoing political allegations and counter-allegations are rubbish, and diversionary tactics to use Lord Krishna for political purposes,” he said.

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