New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued a notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati over her grand plans to install 40 statues of herself, her mentor Kanshi Ram and B R Ambedkar across the state. The statues have cost Rs 2,000 crore of public money.
Mayawati feels the statues are symbols of Dalit assertion and that is the reason she chose to spend almost Rs 2,000 crores in installation of all the statues.
From B R Ambedkar, to Kanshi Ram and ones of herself, all statues are carved in red sandstone. And just to please all the BSP partyworkers, there are statues of elephants (her party symbol) too.
But now there could be trouble for Mayawati's 'mission statues'. Accepting a PIL, the Supreme Court has now asked her government to explain the need for such expenditure.
"We have based all our figures on UP government's budget," says the man who filed the PIL in court, Ravi Kant.
Estimates suggest that each statue of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati costs a sum of Rs 6.65 crores. Each elephant statue costs more than Rs 70 lakh.
In addition, crores have been spent on constructing boundary walls around parks across the state where these statues will be installed and another Rs 80 crore per annum will be spent in the maintainance of these parks
Mayawati though - as is predictable - is seeing politics in this entire episode.
"This is all politics. More money has been spent on maintaining of Rajghat. Why don't they ask questions then," she said.
As in most cases in UP, this one too is becoming a political battle.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh is already asking for an enquiry about who is the contractor implementing the entire project and Home Minister P Chidambaram is charing Mayawati for spending money unneccessarily.
"Of what use will be the statues in that state. The Rs 1,000 crore will help wipe out poverty of thousands of people, provide basic amenities and education," Chidambaram had asked on Monday.
UP still is a part of the BIMARU club of states. It's social indicators are still at the bottom of the national pyramid as lack of power and water are the hallmarks here. Most politicians feel that developing statues is not what the people of the state want.