UP govt drapes all statues of Mayawati, BSP poll symbol

The draping of statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Mayawati and BSP poll symbol elephant was today completed by the authorities at various parks and memorials in Lucknow and Noida, even as the Allahabad High Court dismissed a PIL challenging the Election Commission order.

"Though a written report is yet to be received, the district electoral officers of the two districts have verbally communicated that Election Commission's order has been complied with," Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha told reporters here.

The EC had on Saturday issued orders to cover all statues of Mayawati and the BSP poll symbol at various parks and memorials in Lucknow and Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida).

While fixing January 11 as the deadline, the EC had asked the District Electoral Officers-cum-district magistrates of the two places to send a compliance report.

In Lucknow statues of elephants were veiled with tarpaulin and cloth, while those of Mayawati were covered by wooden structures using plywood sheets at a number of places including DR Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal and Smriti Upvan.

The Dalit Prerna Sthal at Noida has 30 elephant statues made of stone and 22 elephant statues made of bronze. Besides, there are two statues of Mayawati.

In Greater Noida, statues of Mayawati and elephants were draped on Monday and the exercise was carried out at a number of places, including two parks in Badalpur village and Gautam Buddha University, a senior official said.

In all, 36 statues of elephant and two of the chief minister have been covered in Greater Noida, District Magistrate (Gautam Buddha Nagar), Hridesh Kumar said.

Meanwhile, a PIL filed in the High Court challenging the EC order for covering statues of elephants in poll-bound UP was today dismissed as withdrawn.

The PIL, filed on Monday by a local social activist Dheeraj Singh, was taken up for hearing by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Ran Vijai Singh which pointed out at the outset that the petition had "technical shortcomings".

The court expressed displeasure over the fact that neither the petitioner's identity was disclosed in the PIL nor had a copy of the impugned order of the Election Commission been attached.

The petitioner's counsel, Anil Singh Bisen, thereafter requested for permission to file amendments to correct the shortcomings.

However, the court was of the view that the petition should be "dismissed as withdrawn with liberty to the petitioner to file a fresh PIL in accordance with norms".

Bisen claimed that a fresh petition will be filed "soon".

Interestingly, BSP, which is in power in the state, had reportedly chosen to oppose the PIL and question the locus standi of the petitioner.

While party leaders remained tight-lipped over the issue, court sources said a "vakalatnama" (document) had been moved by a senior advocate, who had been authorised by the BSP to appear on its behalf.

The party had also reportedly decided to submit before the court that the BSP was the aggrieved party as elephant happened to be its election symbol but it had not so far chosen to challenge the EC's order.

The poll panel had said it wanted to ensure that no political party was allowed to "derive political mileage".

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