Court asks Maya to explain statue spree

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 1 2009, 04:01am hrs
The Uttar Pradesh governments project of installing statues of chief minister Mayawati on Monday came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which sought an explanation from it for allegedly spending crores of rupees from the state exchequer.

The court issued a show cause notice to the state government and the chief minister after noting several allegations in a public interest litigation including one which claimed that 90% of the budget of the Uttar Pradesh cultural department was used for installation of the statues of Mayawati, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and the partys symbol, the elephant.

Notice to show cause why the petition should not be admitted, a vacation bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Ganguly said and sought reply within four weeks from the Uttar Pradesh government, Mayawati, BSP and Election Commission which have been named respondents in the public interest litigation filed by Supreme Court advocate Ravi Kant.

Kant alleged that the total money used by Mayawati from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10 for such projects was to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore and that the aim of the expenditure of public money was only to falsely glorify the chief minister.

No sooner was the order issued, Mayawati aide and senior advocate Satish Chandra Mishra voiced his protest but the bench said whatever he had to say could be said by way of reply to the notice.

Meanwhile, Mayawatis drive to install statues and memorials continued to provoke sharp criticism from other political parties. Union home minister P Chidambaram has described as shameful the installation of her own statues by Mayawati. She is spending Rs 1,000 crore on establishing statues of elephants and herself. Can there be something more shameful than this in Indian politics

Of what use will be the statues The Rs 1,000 crore could have helped wipe out poverty of thousands of people, provide basic amenities and education, he said at a meeting in his constituency Sivaganga.