Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Saturday urged the media and the Bharatiya Janata Party “to stop kite flying” because the Supreme Court’s statement about her use of public money to build statues was just an “oral observation”. She expressed confidence that she would get justice in the matter.
The Supreme Court had on Friday said it was prime facie of the view that Mayawati should pay back public money that was spent on installing statues of herself and elephants – her party’s symbol – in Noida and Lucknow when she was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2012. The court had, however, said this was a tentative view and that the matter will be taken up for 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 [Other Backward Classes] are new grand identity and tourist attraction of Uttar Pradesh which gives regular income to government,” Mayawati wrote on Twitter. “Humble request to media, please don’t distort oral observation of Hon’ble court.”
The Supreme Court had made the observation while hearing a petition filed by two advocates who argued that public money should not be utilised to build one’s own statues and for propagating a political party.
When Mayawati was the chief minister, the state government had built statues of elephants and memorials for Dalit leaders, including Bahuaj Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati herself. The memorials and statues were built at a cost of over Rs 2,600 crore in Lucknow and Noida among multiple places in the state.