Mayawati defends in SC decision to build statutes

Mayawati defends in SC decision to build statutes

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati has defended before the Supreme Court the decision of her government to install her big-sized statutes and that of her party symbol- elephant, saying these memorials reflected “aspirations of the oppressed and downtrodden sections of society, who have been marginalised by the caste system”.

Maintaining that during her tenure, the state government constructed memorials at Lucknow and Noida in honour of lives and memories of various saints, gurus and social reformers, she said installations of her statutes has been centre-stage due to expression of concern by some sections of the society.

“Certainly, I could not go contrary to wishes of the state legislators in installing my statute near the statue of Kanshi Ram...the statutes came in to being as will of the state legislators to represent the will of the people,” she said, adding however, some disgruntled elements could not digest such an amount of respect for the Dalit woman leader.

She also said she had decided to dedicate her entire life for upliftment of the downtrodden society for which she also undertook a decision to remain unmarried.

In February, hearing a petition filed in 2009 by an advocate who had alleged that about Rs 2,000 crore was used from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10, the top court orally said she should deposit the money used for it.

In her response, Mayawati said that the funds for construction of memorials and installation of statutes have been sanctioned through budgetary allocations after approval by the state legislature.

She contended that it was imprudent to claim that the money could have been utilised for other purposes. “The utilisation of funds for a particular public purpose by the state government may be right for certain sections of society and it may be wrong for certain other sections of society. All these issues not justiciable,” she said in an affidavit filed in the top court.

She said these memorials are under upkeep and maintenance of the state government, which are visited by the public and tourists and generated huge daily revenue.

Maywati also listed out other statues installed by the central government and various other state governments like 182-metre tall statute of Sardar Vallabhai Patel by an expenditure of Rs 3,000 crore and Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in Andhra Pradesh and proposed one of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee by the UP government and another of Chhatrapati Shivaji by the Maharashtra government at the cost of Rs 3643.78 crores. She also cited the proposal to construct a 350-feet tall statute of mother 'Cauvery' by the Karnataka government, among others.

She also also pointed out the Election Commission had already examined the issue and declined to take any action against her party, BSP.

Mayawati sought dismissal of the writ petition filed by one Ravi Kant against her government's decision, terming the plea as “politically-motivated”.