A blooming lotus in the centre and Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign slogan — Naa goondaraj, naa bhristachar, abki baar BhaJaPa sarkar (say no to lawlessness and corruption, vote BJP this time) – painted at the bottom, one of the posters that have sprung in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency reads: Khun se rangi Mathura, so rahi Sarkar (Mathura bloodied as the government sleeps).
On the left side, two persons are sitting with one of them taking a shot at a policeman with a pistol. Mathura links are hard to miss.
Two policemen, one of them a superintendent of police, were among the people killed in a June 2 operation to evict squatters from a public park in the holy city of Mathura, around 670km from here.
“The BJP has not put up these posters. We have nothing to do with such controversial things,” party’s Kashi president Laxman Acharya said. “I have no idea about such posters. The BJP doesn’t use such cheap language. We will look into the matter and trace the brain behind the posters.”
Looking to make a comeback when Uttar Pradesh goes to the polls in 2017, the BJP has targeted the ruling Samajwadi Party on the issue of law and order and alleged poor governance. The Mathura incident was also discussed during the party’s national executive that concluded in Allahabad on Monday.
Another billboard that has come up close to a busy traffic intersection reads: Bhumafia kar rahe raj, so rahi sarkar (land mafia has a free run as the government sleeps). It, too, has a drawing with a man perched on a branch training a gun at a policeman.
The Mathura park was encroached by members of a cult led by one Ramvriksh Yadav, who claimed to be a follower of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose. Yadav died in the violence during the police action.
The state government, which accepted lapses on its part, has been accused of protecting the encroachers.
The BJP’s media in-charge for eastern UP Sanjay Bhardwaj said deteriorating law and order situation was indeed a poll issue but the party had nothing to do with the posters.