Varanasi: Disappointed with the Uttar Pradesh and central governments for failing to recognize his contribution to classical music, well-known classical singer Pt. Chhannu Lal can have his own way to protest: he may not become a proposer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s candidature, this time.
He had proposed Modi’s name during the 2014 general election as Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from the Varanasi parliamentary seat and is among the ‘navaratna’ (nine-gems) appointed by the Prime Minister for the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.
In an interview with media journalist, 83-year-old Lal said there is no classical singer in Varanasi of his age. Despite dedicating his entire life to the art, he has not received respect from the state or Central government, he said.
On account of his works, Lal and his fans in Varanasi expected state patronage. “People think I am not the right person to be conferred with such awards,” he said in dejection.
“If they don’t think (that he deserves an award), I don’t want it,” the vocalist said.
Lal belongs to ‘Kirana Gharana’. “I am not begging for any award at this age.”
Popular Pandit who proposes Narendra Modi’s name in 2014 is not supporting him anymore:
Chhannu Lal was conferred with Padma Bhushan in 2010.
“Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are great admirers of classical music. Once I performed before them and they recommended a Padma Bhushan for me and I got it. (Then Uttar Pradesh) Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav also conferred me with Yash Bharati Puraskar. I urged him to initiate a pension scheme for artistes and he started such a scheme for them,” he said.
“But, when the new government came, we stopped getting pension. When I asked Yogi Adityanath, he started a yearly Rs 25,000 pension. But, I don’t take it now,” Lal said.
On whether he will support Modi in the Lok Sabha election or if he would extend his support to any other party, he said: “It’s a political question and I am an artiste. All parties are equal for me. Whoever approaches me, I will welcome. Modi approached me in the previous election. He seemed honest, so I supported him.”
“I have not decided anything (on proposing Modi’s name again),” Lal said.
Groom shot dead at wedding venue in UP district
Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh): A groom was shot dead by unidentified assailants just before he reached the ‘mandap’ for the wedding ceremony.
The incident took place on Tuesday night in Masirpur bazaar locality in Devgaon police circle.
According to reports, the ‘baraat’ had come from Singhpur and just as the groom was walking towards the ‘mandap, two bike-borne assailants came and sprayed him with bullets.
The groom was taken to a nearby medical facility where he was declared brought dead.
Angry family members created a ruckus at the hospital after which the police came and sent the body for post mortem.
A number of family members, both from the groom and the bride side, have been detained for interrogation to ascertain the motive behind the crime.
The police said that the killers were probably following the groom from a distance and attacked him when the ceremony was about to begin.
There were no CCTV cameras in the area.