More than 2,000 BJP delegates along with party president Amit Shah on Monday attended what has been described by senior party leaders as an "extended national executive" meet to mark the end of a year-long exercise to commemorate Deendayal Upadhyaya's 100th birth anniversary, which falls on 25 September.
The year-long centenary birth celebrations of the Jana Sangh ideologue was kick-started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kerala’s Kozhikode on 24 September 2016, according to The Indian Express report. It added that the purpose of the celebration is to resurrect Upadhyaya, who is known as a Hindutva ideologue.
Who was Deendayal Upadhyaya?
Upadhyaya was the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) from 1953 to 1968, according to BJP's official website. The BJP is the successor party of the BJS, which merged itself into the Janata Party in 1977. The BJP was formed as a separate party in 1980 after internal differences emerged within the Janata Party. The party website says that Upadhyaya joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1937.
In 1951, Upadhyaya, according to The Huffington Post, founded the Rashtriya Jana Sangh with the veteran ideologue, Syama Prasad Mookerjee. The report adds that Upadhyaya was an opponent of capitalism as well as the secular framework of socialism.
According to Outlook, Upadhyaya abhorred the idea of secularism. He was of the view that the Indian Constitution had to be changed radically as “it runs counter to the unity and indivisibility of Bharat".
Schemes and projects launched in Deendayal Upadhyaya's name by government
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday released over 100 inmates from various jails of the state to mark the birth centenary of Upadhyaya. Out of the 100 inmates, as many as 80 had completed their quantum of punishment.
On 4 August, the Uttar Pradesh government approved a proposal to rename the iconic Mughalsarai Railway Station near Varanasi after Upadhyaya.
After coming to power in 2014, the BJP government at the Centre launched various projects and renamed many of existing ones after Upadhyaya.
In March, the Rajasthan government asked all secondary and senior secondary schools to purchase a collection of essays and speeches by Upadhyaya, a move which drew accusations of saffronisation of education.
In April, it was announced that the Agra airport would be named after Upadhyaya.
In May, telecom minister Manoj Sinha launched a skill development scheme named after Upadhyaya that will train rural youth to maintain mobile towers, repair optical fibres and fix other communication technologies across India.
In July, Modi launched the ‘Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana’ for power sector reforms in rural areas with a view to ensuring round the clock electricity supply to farmers and rural households.
In July this year, the Haryana government decided that youth centres would be established in Upadhyaya's name in all districts of the state at a cost of about Rs 3 crore each.
Upadhyaya's mysterious death
Upadhya's death is shrouded in mystery. On 11 February 1968, Upadhyaya's body was found at the Mughalsarai Railway Station, according to India Today.
On 11 August this year, Congress sought Modi's intervention to reopen the probe into the death of Upadhyaya. "Deendayal Upadhyay murder case has been a mystery for the last 49 years. At least in his birth centenary year, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should request Modi to reopen the probe into his murder," MPCC (Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee) spokesperson Sachin Sawant had said in a statement.
On 12 February 2013, according to India Today report, Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Arvind Menon had alleged that Congress was indirectly responsible for the death of Upadhyaya.
With inputs from agencies.
Published Date: Sep 25, 2017 03:38 pm | Updated Date: Sep 25, 2017 06:41 pm