Bhopal: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) has replaced the national emblem from corporation’s insignia with an emblem of a Hindu ruler, Raja Bhoj.
This comes after Bhopal mayor Alok Sharma announced the removal of its existing insignia in the budget speech on June 27, 2019.
He had announced, “The present emblem would be replaced by that of Raja Bhoj. Bhoj of the Parmar dynasty (AD 1001-1053) built the millennia-old Upper Lake and owing to his contributions, the emblem ought to be changed.”
But the issue was swept under the carpet after the sharp criticism from the opposition Congress ward members. In 85-member council, the BJP has an absolute majority.
The BMC insignia was bestowed by the Nizam of Hyderabad with ‘Mahi-Maratib’ — Mahi is a fish and ‘maratib’ defines dignity or rank. The fish was one of the first honours of the Mughal empire and it dates back to 1728. The insignia is now the emblem of the civic body.
After the independence, it was modified and the state emblem of India — the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath was placed on top of the emblem and historic Sanchi Stupa in the middle – a sacred place of Buddhism religion located at adjacent Raisen district.
But the issue triggered controversy when the corporation issued an order in this regard on Tuesday. It has not only irked the Congress but also the locals.
Congress’s leader of opposition in the council Mohammad Sagir and a number of activists opposed the move and organised a protest on Wednesday.
Congress MLA from Bhopal Central assembly seat, Arif Masood and Sagir held protests at the BMC commissioner’s office on Wednesday and also handed a memorandum to commissioner B Vijay Datta. They demanded withdrawal of the order.
“Removing national emblem from BMC’s insignia is a shameful attempt by the BJP and an offence according to the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act,” Masood said.
Raja Bhoj was the ruler of Dhar not Bhopal, Masood said. “The city was built by Nawab Dost Mohammad Khan. But the BJP is deliberately trying to establish Raja Bhoj in Bhopal. BMC should rollback its order because locals strike a chord with the emblem,” he asserted.
Besides several organisations like Muslim Mahasabha and Insani Biradari also wrote to Bhopal collector, demanding rolling back of the order and action against the Mayor for removing national emblem from BMC’s insignia.
BJP’s love for Raja Bhoj is well-known. A decade ago, the party installed his statue in the middle of the Upper Lake. Bhopal Airport is named after him and a recently constructed cable bridge was also named after Bhoj.
Besides, two former Chief Ministers of state, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Babulal Gaur had promised and tried to rename the city from Bhopal to Bhojtal. But the attempt foiled as locals and historians were against it.