Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 14
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of a university in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh named after prominent Jat king, freedom fighter and social reformer from the region, Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh.
Apart from educational benefits for the people, the BJP hopes to reap great political advantage from the Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University, a massive education project in Aligarh.
It is being seen as an effort to win back the dominant Jat community in western UP, the hotbed of the farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws and sugarcane prices.
Jats, both Hindu and Muslim, constitute a sizeable population in the western UP.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath called the Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor and Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University biggest gift to the region on the occasion of Radha Ashtami. He also spoke of the arrear payments to sugarcane farmers and other benefits to the farmers by the government.
BJP leaders say the university is being established by the state government in memory and honour of the Jat leader who remained unacknowledged for his contributions to the country.
Singh had leased land to the AMU in 1929, leading BJP and RSS leaders to demand that the university be named after him.
A controversy erupted when some local BJP leaders demanded that the AMU be renamed after him as it was “built on the land donated by the late Raja”.
Following this, Yogi Adityanath announced that a state-level university named after him would be set up in Aligarh.
According to Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, establishing the state university in the name of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh is the state government’s way of paying tribute to the man who devoted more than three decades of his life living in exile and fighting for India’s freedom but remained unsung.
“Mahendra Pratap was the president of India’s first provisional government in exile establishing in Kabul in 1915 with the help of different Afghan tribal chiefs and heads of some governments including Japan’s,” he said.
The university is being set up in a total area of over 92 acres at Lodha village and Musepur Kareem Jarouli village of Aligarh’s Kol tehsil. It will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.
Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was an alumnus of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental Collegiate School which later became the AMU. He was felicitated during the centenary celebrations of the university in 1997, according to reports.
PM lauds Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh
PM Narendra Modi said the university is a way to recognise the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh towards nation building from which every youth in the country can learn.
The PM said Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh wanted freedom for the country and dedicated his entire life to achieve that. However, his contributions were “ignored”.
“So many people spent their entire lives towards freedom struggle and national building,” he said, adding that the “mistakes of the 20th century are being rectified by 21st century India”.
Whether it is Maharaja Suhel Dev or Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, an honest attempt is being made to recognise their contributions, he said.
“For India’s freedom he travelled across the world without worrying about his own life. I want to tell the youth that whenever they feel a challenge or find some difficulty, they should remember Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh,” the PM said.
Calling it a big day for western UP where Radha Ashtami is being celebrated today, he also invoked Kalyan Singh, the OBC leader who passed away recently. He also recounted the infrastructure projects in poll-bound UP, including the defence corridor in Aligarh, by the Yogi Adityanath government.
Invoking Chaudhary Charan Singh, who is also known as farmers’ champion, the PM said he was most worried about small farmers who constituted 80 per cent of the total farmers in the country.
“It is important that the government stands by them. Eight out of 10 farmers in the country have small land holdings which is why the government wants them to be empowered,” he said while speaking about “pro-farmer” policies of his government.
“We have to defeat anti-development efforts,” he said, also launching a scathing attack on previous governments over law and order in the state.
“There was a time when the state was run by goons and mafia, who are all behind the bars now,” he said, showering praises on CM Yogi Adityanath.