Call it a strategic move to corner Dalit votes ahead of Lok Sabha elections or an “oversight”, the Samajwadi Party has now showered praise on memorials and parks built by the Mayawati-led BSP government as “commendable creations” with unique architecture and milestones of the first decade of 21st century.
An annual book on Uttar Pradesh published by state Information Department and released by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on January 17 contains reference to these memorials as “spectacular places”. Incidentally, the SP leadership have always criticised Mayawati for misuse of public money on stones and statues and Akhilesh Yadav had ordered inquiry into alleged scam of “Rs 40,000 crore” in construction of these memorials and parks in Lucknow and Noida.
Among others, in the book Uttar Pradesh, 2013, the government has praised the memorials and parks including Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal Dwar, Bhimrao Ambedkar Vihar, Samtamulak Chowk, Samajik Parivartan Gallery, Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Drishya Sthal, Samajik Parivartan Sangrahalaya, Manyawar Kashiram Smarak Sthal in Lucknow and Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida. “The book contains authentic facts and data about the government’s achievements and state’s demography,” a government official said.
“Huge dome of Manyawar Shree Kanshiram Ji Smarak Sthal is a commendable creation of engineering. Likewise, both the domes of Samajik Parivartan Sangrahalaya (in Ambedkar Memorial) are known as achievements of engineering and temple architecture. Baudh Vihar Shanti Upwan has become a prominent place of tourism and faith,” the book reads.
Incidentally, Akhilesh’s government had recommended Lokayukta to probe into irregularities in the supply and purchase of sandstone used for construction of various Dalit memorials and parks after a preliminary inquiry found numerous anomalies. The UP Vigilance Establishment on January 1 this year had even lodged an FIR against former ministers and government officials in connection with the alleged irregularities mounting to Rs 1,410 crore.
When asked about the praise being showered on memorials, Cabinet minister and SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said, “There is no point why we should praise the memorials. It would have been stated in some other reference. But I will check it.”