MP Bypolls: Ahead of elections, Chouhan announces memorial of Rani Padmavati
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Ahead of bypolls, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday announced that a memorial of Rani Padmavati will be built in Bhopal, and cases against those who protested against the film "Padmavat" would be withdrawn.

Speaking at the traditional `shastra pujan' (weapon worship) programme of the local Rajput community, Chouhan said land for the memorial has been earmarked at Manuabhan Ki Tekri in Bhopal.

He attacked Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial 2018 period drama "Padmavat", calling it a "blow to society's honour", and noted that it was banned in Madhya Pradesh.

"We have decided to withdraw all the cases registered during the protest against the film in the state as the protesters were opposing injustice," he said.

Lessons on Rani Padmavati will be included in school curriculum from the next academic year, the BJP leader said.

Annual prizes of Rs 2 lakh each will be instituted in the names of Maharana Pratap and Rani Padmavati to felicitate men and women who have exhibited exemplary bravery, Chouhan announced.

Bypolls to 28 Assembly seats will be held in the state on November 3.

Bhansali's film on queen Padmini/Padmavati had faced stiff resistance from Rajput organizations which alleged that it distorted history.

Meanwhile, some members of the audience including women shouted slogans against caste-based reservations when the chief minister's speech was nearing its end.

Standing on chairs, they also shouted "Mamaji (as Chouhan is popularly known) give jobs to everyone".

Chouhan left the venue even as slogans continued.

Earlier, Chouhan ramped up the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s rhetoric over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, declaring that once the vaccine is ready, it will be made available for everyone in Madhya Pradesh free of cost.

The chief minister to his official handle on Twitter to announce the news.

"We have taken several effective steps to safeguard the people against COVID-19," he wrote, "today it is completely controlled."

Preparations for the coronavirus vaccine are going on in full steam, he wrote, adding, "As soon as the vaccine is ready, it will be made available to every citizen of Madhya Pradesh free of cost."

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