Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday defended her decision to build statues of Dalit icons and other memorials in Uttar Pradesh during the years when she was in power, a day after the Supreme Court observed that she may have to repay the public money spent on such installations, including statues of the party symbol, the elephant.
Reacting to media coverage of the Supreme Court’s oral observations, Mayawati advised the “BJP and the media” against “kite flying” in a series of posts on Twitter, which she joined last month. “Marvellous sthals/memorials/parks etc. built to honour hitherto ignored great saints, gurus and great men born in deprived and oppressed dalit and OBCs are new grand identity and tourist attraction of Uttar Pradesh which gives regular income to government,” she said in four tweets, two in Hindi and two in English.
The BSP chief posted in one of them: “Humble request to media please don’t distort oral observation of the Hon’ble Court. Sure to get justice in this matter also. Media and BJP leaders please stop kite flying.”
On Friday, a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said in an oral observation during a hearing on a 10-year-old public interest litigation that it was of the “tentative view” that the former UP chief minister should pay out of her pocket for the statues of herself and the elephant erected in UP during her tenure. The court fixed April 2 to hear the matter for its final disposal.
The remarks come at a time when Mayawati is preparing for the general election in Uttar Pradesh, which BSP will fight in an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP).
The statues of Mayawati and the elephant have been put up in Lucknow at the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Manyavar Kanshiram Smarak Sthal, Buddha Vihar Shanti Upvan, Ramabai Ambedkar Rally Maidan, Manyavar Kanshiram Yaadgaar Vishraam Sthal, Samata Mulak Crossing, Kanshiram Sanskriti Sthal and Manyavar Kanshiram Green Ecogarden.
They were also put up at Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Filed in 2009, the PIL by advocate Ravi Kant sought a restraint order against the installation of the statues , alleging that public money was being used to “falsely glorify” the then chief minister. The statues were installed at a cost of Rs 52.20 crore.
First Published: Feb 09, 2019 23:58 IST