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Bihar: Opposition Questions Use of Swastika in Place of Ashok Chakra on a Memorial

A centenary pillar will be constructed as a memorial in the premises of the Bihar Legislative Assembly to mark the centenary of the Assembly building.
Bihar: Opposition Questions Use of Swastika in Place of Ashok Chakra on a Memorial

Image Courtesy: @TejashwiOffice

Patna: Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has questioned the decision of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Nitish Kumar to inscribe the Swastika mark on the proposed centenary pillar in the premises of Bihar Legislative Assembly in place of Ashok Chakra. The centenary pillar will be constructed as a memorial to mark the centenary of the Assembly building.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, also the leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, opposed the state government's move and said the use of Swastika mark in place of Ashok Chakra on the centenary pillar would hit the secular image of the country.

"It will be the first such pillar in the country after independence in which the Ashok Chakra will not be inscribed, and it will feature Swastika."

The RJD, on its official Twitter handle, said the speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar have posed a challenge before the people of Bihar by giving preference to Swastika in place of Ashok Chakra at the memorial.

"Will Nitish Kumar continue to ignore such things like Dhritarashtra of the Mahabharata?" RJD asked Kumar.

RJD leader Ezaj Ahmad also targeted Kumar for this decision.

"How can a decision be made to neglect and ignore Ashok Chakra and adopt the Swastika mark on the centenary pillar that would come up near the main gate of the state Assembly without approval from Kumar?"

However, leaders from the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have attacked Yadav for objecting to this decision.  

Even speaker Sinha, also a senior BJP leader, said that Yadav lacks understanding of Swastika.

"Use of Swastika symbol is not new; it is part of the state emblem of Bihar. The symbol of Swastika is inscribed in the letter pad of Tejashwi Yadav and all the MLAs."

Sinha said Swastika is an integral part of our ancient culture and religion.

Swastika mark is widely seen as a symbol used by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains for centuries. It was also closely associated with the fascism of Nazi Germany in the last century.

Interestingly, Bihar witnessed a war of words within the ruling NDA partners, JD(U) and BJP, over Ashoka, with the former accusing a leader of the saffron party of showing the Emperor of the Mauryan dynasty in "poor light" and demanding action against him.

The row gathered steam after Padma Shree awardee and Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Daya Prakash Sinha, who is also convenor of the cultural cell of BJP, in an interview, compared Ashoka with Aurangzeb, suggesting that both were "cruel" as rulers and had committed 'sins'.

Apart from JD-U, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustani Awam Morcha and RJD condemned the BJP leader. After that sensing trouble, BJP played it down to silence its allies.

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