Facing flak for giving a bright saffron coat of paint to the boundary wall of the Uttar Pradesh Haj Committee office in Lucknow, the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government Saturday went into damage control mode and admitted “laxity” on part of the contractor tasked with the job.
“Secretary of the UP Haj Committee R P Singh has taken immediate cognisance of the matter, and issued directives for its rectification,” a statement issued by the government said.
Singh said, “There was laxity by the contractor in the painting and maintenance work of the UP Haj Committee office.
On inspecting the boundary wall of the office, it was found that there has been laxity, and a dark shade of paint has been used contrary to the instructions issued”.
“Further painting of the boundary wall has been stopped, and instructions have been issued to officials that painting and maintenance of the boundary wall should be done as per directives,” he said.
He also ordered action be initiated against the erring contractor.
The boundary wall of the Uttar Pradesh Haj office, opposite the state legislature building in the heart of the capital had been given a saffron look overnight, days after the secretariat building facade was given the same coat.
The work was done by the UP estates department late on Thursday night and the Haj office staff was not immediately available for a reaction, Friday being a holiday.
The saffron colour, mostly associated with Hinduism and especially with the Sangh Parivar of which the ruling BJP is a part, was also painted on the front portion of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan Annexe where the offices of the chief minister and top bureaucrats are located.
The move prompted the opposition Samajwadi Party to accuse the BJP government of indulging in “blatant saffronisation”.
“The BJP is a party known for changing colours. It is indulging in these antics only to hide its faults and failures. If the BJP really considers the saffron colour as sacrosanct, it should not indulge in politicisation of the colour and indulge in blatant saffronisation,” SP spokesman Sunil Singh Sajan said.
All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Yasoob Abbas took strong exception to the change in colour.
“What is this? The BJP will paint it saffron, the SP will choose green and the BSP blue…This is politics of colour and should be avoided,” he said.
Commenting on the matter, the lone Muslim minister in the UP government had yesterday said, “I fail to understand the problem of those having issues with the new colour. Is saffron an anti-national colour? Saffron is a colour which symbolises ‘ujala’ (brightness) and ‘urja’ (energy)”.
“When the first rays of the Sun fall on the Earth, it comes with saffron light,” Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mohsin Raza had said.
“Saffron is a colour, which is synonymous with positivity. It is a gift of God. I think those who are against the usage of saffron colour on the (boundary) wall of the UP Haj committee office, may also object to saffron on the national tricolour,” he said.
“This is peculiar politics. After all, only the outer wall of the government office has been painted and not the building or any personal property of any individual,” he said.