‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari’ statue to be set up in all 33 district headquarters
With an eye on promoting regional identity and bringing Chhattisgarhi emotions at the core of the political narrative ahead of assembly elections, the Chhattisgarh government is planning to erect statues of ‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari (mother)’ in all 33 district headquarters of the state.
‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari’, is a revered mother figure traditionally depicted wearing a green coloured saree and carrying paddy and sickle in her hands.
Last month, the state government had decided to give prominent display to the portrait of ‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari’ at all government programmes organised across the state.
“The aim of building the “Chhattisgarh Mahtari” statue is to create a feeling of regional pride among the people of the state. United by this identity, the state shall strive for excellence in all fields. The statue will be erected at all district headquarters in the next few months. The money allocated for the statues will be managed through resources available with the state,” said Dipanshu Kabra, Commissioner, Chhattisgarh Public Relations Department.
After the Congress came to power in Chhattisgarh, the government tried to cater to the Chhattisgarhiya sentiment of the people to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). People close to the government believe that the Congress is now using this regional sentiment to counter the BJP’s nationalism and to an extent at least in Chhattisgarh, Congress is in a better position.
“It is after Bhupesh Baghel came to power, that the politicians across the state started giving speeches in Chhattisgarhi dialect both inside and outside the assembly. The Congress government declared a state song, and most of the local festivals were celebrated in the chief minister’s house. Erecting statues in every district is another step towards strengthening the regionalism, which was actually lacking during BJP’s rule,” a senior IAS officer from Chhattisgarh said.
Political commentators of the state also believe that the BJP government failed to create a regional identity.
“The earlier BJP government failed miserably to give the state or people any regional identity, which the Congress government has been focusing on since 2018. This has now even forced the BJP leaders to celebrate local festivals, speak in Chhattisgarhi and even to share them on social media. The core issue and narrative for upcoming elections will be the Chhattisgarhiya identity for which both the parties are now working,” said Harsh Dubey, a political commentator based in Raipur.
Meanwhile, BJP believes that the Congress has failed on all fronts and hence is taking cover behind regionalism.
“The real issue is that the Congress government failed in giving education, employment and welfare schemes to the people of Chhattisgarh. Secondly, in my constituency Kurud, a Congress worker made a photograph which depicts four hands of Chhattisgarh Mahtari and the government photograph depicts only two hands. I am asking Bhupesh Baghel from where he got this photograph? Has Chhattisgarh Mahtari appeared in his dreams or is he the only one who knows Chhattisgarh Mahtari?” said Ajay Chandrakar, chief spokesperson of BJP and a former minister.