Jumbo draping job begins in Noida, UP

EC order to cover statues of Maya, elephants presents UP govt with a headache

Election cover up: Employees at National Dalit Prerna Sthal cover statues of elephants, following Election Commission orders in Noida on Sunday.  PTI photoDraping of the statues of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and the elephants (her party's election symbol began in the state on Sunday, following a directive from the Election Commission (EC).

The EC had on Saturday ordered covering of all statues of Mayawati and the elephants to give a `level playing field to all the stake holders' in the forthcoming assembly polls.

While the Opposition parties welcomed the order, the ruling BSP slammed it and termed it `anti-dalit'.

Senior officials rushed to the sprawling `Samajik Parivartan Sthal' to find out which department was executing the EC directive. They were, however, racked by confusion over assigning the responsibility of covering the statues, and the work of draping which began in the morning came to a halt a few hours later.

Initially it was decided that the task would be given to the `Rajkiya Nirman Nigam', a state undertaking but the latter expressed its helplessness citing lack of adequate resources to do the job. The job was then handed over to the Lucknow Development Authority.

A sense of fear was palpable among the officials. None wanted to take the lead fearing the wrath of the government. “What will happen if Mayawati returns to power after the poll?'', asked an official.

While some smaller statues of the elephants were covered with draping material, the officials said they would require machines to drape some very large statues of Mayawati.

There are over 300 statues of elephants and Mayawati at parks in Lucknow and Noida and the UP government has spent thousands of crores of rupees to construct them. There are nine statues of  Mayawati at different places in the state capital alone. One is a 24-feet tall bronze structure. There also is an elephant gallery where there are 60 statues of the elephants.

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