Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court, justifying the expenses incurred in the installation of statues of her in Uttar Pradesh. In her affidavit, Mayawati claimed that the statues were built as it was the “will of the people”, ANI reported.

The statues were constructed when Mayawati was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2007 to 2012. The court is hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2009, which alleges that the Mayawati-led government had used Rs 2,000 crore public money to build statues of her and elephants, India Today reported.

“Other political parties have also erected statues of political leaders,” Mayawati argued in her affidavit. “It’s a means to show admiration and support.” She also alleged that the plea against the statues is politically motivated and serves no public purpose.

“Elephants don’t only represent BSP,” she claimed. “They are an architectural symbol used in Indian traditional architecture.”

The Supreme Court, during a hearing in February, had asked the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister to reimburse the public for the expenses incurred in erecting the statues, the Hindustan Times reported. “Madam Mayawati, reimburse to the exchequer the public money you have spent on the elephants,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had said. “We are of the tentative view that you should pay the public money from your pocket.”