Lucknow: The exterior walls of the Uttar Pradesh Haj office, opposite the state legislature building in the heart of the city, has got a saffron look overnight, days after the secretariat building facade was given the same coat.
The Haj office boundary got a bright saffron shade within days of the BJP government reducing the number of holidays allotted to state-recognised madrasas in the 2018 calendar.
The paint was carried out late last night and the Haj office staff were not immediately available for comments, Friday being a holiday.
When contacted, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mohsin Raza told PTI, "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)."
He said, "When the first rays of the Sun fall on the Earth, it comes with saffron light."
Raza said, "Saffron is a colour, which is synonymous with positivity. It is a gift of God. I think those who are against usage of saffron on walls of UP Haj Samiti office, may also object to saffron colour in the national tri-colour."
He said, "This is peculiar politics. After all, only the outer walls of the government office has been painted and not the building or any personal property of any individual."
The saffron colour, mostly associated with Hinduism and especially with the Sangh Parivar of which the BJP is a part, was painted on the front portion of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan Annexe where the offices of the chief minister and top bureaucrats are located.
After assuming office in March last year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath showed his fondness for the colour as the state government gave saffron tinge to covers of official booklets and background of official posters issued by the public relations department and ministries.
In October last year, 50 saffron-coloured buses of the UP State Road Transport Corporation, named 'Sankalp Seva', were launched to provide service in rural areas.
The department of energy also announced that power connection to unauthorised colonies would be provided through electric poles painted saffron.
Saffron is Adityanath's favourite colour as even the towels on the chairs he sits for meetings or conferences is of that shade.
The 45-year-old monk-turned-politician is always seen in saffron robes and the BJP hardliner is referred to as "Maharaj ji" by his followers.
Interestingly, in Adityanath's home turf Gorakhpur, the historic "Ghantaghar" (clock tower) has got the same tint.
Built in 1930 in the memory of freedom fighters Pt Ram Prasad Bismil, Seth Ram Khelawan and Thakur Prasad, the imposing tower was painted yellow four years ago, but recently it got the saffron shade.
The clock tower has historical significance. It was where freedom fighters such as Ali Hasan were hanged in 1859.