A day after the Supreme Court expressed its tentative view that Mayawati will have to reimburse the money spent on her statues, the BSP supremo said the memorials are a “tourist attraction” and give “regular income to Uttar Pradesh government.” Asking media to refrain from “distorting the oral observations,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also asked the BJP to “stop kite flying.”
The Supreme Court Friday said it was of the prima facie view that BSP chief should return the public funds spent on erecting statues of herself and elephants — her party’s symbol — in Uttar Pradesh. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Gogoi made it clear that it was a tentative view and that the matter will be heard for a final hearing on April 2.
Marvellous Sthals/Memorials/Parks etc. built to honour hitherto ignored great Sants, 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.
— Mayawati (@SushriMayawati) February 9, 2019
The Mayawati government had built multiple Dalit memorials, including statues of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and BSP’s election symbol ‘elephant’, when she was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2012. The memorials and statues were built at a cost of over Rs 2,600 crore in Lucknow, Noida, and a few other places in the state.
The remarks were made by a bench hearing a petition filed by an advocate who had contended that public money cannot be utilised for building own statues and for propagating a political party.
Reacting on the development, former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav who had earlier alleged a “memorial scam” said he “did not have full information” on the matter. He instead attacked the BJP saying, “A statue is going to be installed at the Lok Bhavan here,” in an apparent reference to Yogi Adityanath government’s plan to put up a 25-foot statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The UP Vigilance Department had registered a complaint in 2014, when Akhilesh Yadav was Chief Minister, which alleged the scam had “resulted in the loss of over Rs 111,44,35,066 to the government exchequer and unlawful gain to public servants and private individuals”. Yadav and Mayawati recently announced an alliance for Uttar Pradesh in the coming Lok Sabha elections