Lawyers take Maya statues to court

New Delhi: The Mayawati government’s gigantic project to glorify her as the greatest ever dalit leader by installing her statues in prime cities of Uttar Pradesh is coming under the Supreme Court’s hammer.

Concerned at the gross wastage of public money, two lawyers on Thursday moved Supreme Court, seeking a direction to the overzealous state government to stop wasting public money in this fashion.

Petitioners Ravi Kant and Sukumar also sought a direction to CBI to probe the multi-million-rupee statues’ scam.

According to the UP government, it has spent Rs3.49 crore on Mayawati’s eight statues at five memorials coming up in Lucknow. It spent another Rs3.37 crore on seven statues of her mentor, Kanshi Ram. Another Rs52.20 crore is being spent on 60 statues of elephants — the BSP’s election symbol — at these memorials. Each elephant statue, complete with a granite pedestal, costs Rs87 lakh.

The petitioners said installing the elephant statues violates the election code that prohibits any ruling party from glorifying its election symbol at tax-payers’ money. In response to lawyer Ravi Kant’s query under RTI, the state government said the largest statues of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram were installed at Pratibimb in Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajaik Parivartan Stahl, Gomti Nagar. The two 24-ft high bronze statues cost Rs1.55 crore each.

The petitioner regretted that the state that is in dire need of funds for social emancipation, public health and education is indulging in wasteful expenditure. UP is among the five states having highest neo-natal mortality. As per the 2001 census, the state has the highest no of child labourers and maximum number of poor, with 59 million below the poverty line.

Of its 97,122 villages, only 56,977 have power. “In this scenario, construction of statues and memorials is a complete misuse of funds,” the PIL says.

PIL challenges UP govt’s love for statues of Maya and elephant

19 Jun 2009, 0328 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: A public interest petition in the Supreme Court has questioned the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to misuse public funds to erect statues of chief minister Mayawati and instal replicas of elephants, which is the symbol of the ruling BSP, at prominent places in the state.

The PIL filed by two advocates Ravi Kant and Sukumar accused the Mayawati regime of being obsessed with self-glorification at the cost of the exchequer and termed this as a misuse of state funds for no public cause.

Seeking an inquiry into the manner in which the funds have been utilised to erect her statues and the replicas of elephant at important places and parks all over the state costing the exchequer hundreds of crores of rupees, the petitioners said any policy of the state that involved spending tax-payers’ money for such a wasteful purpose should not be allowed to be continued.

“Petitioner challenges the policy of the state government to construct large number of statues of chief minister Mayawati and spending of hundreds of crores of rupees for self-glorification of Mayawati,” the PIL said.

“It also challenges installation of 60 replicas of elephants at a cost of Rs 52.5 crore, which is the election symbol of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party,” it said.