Her Statues "Represent Will Of People," Mayawati Tells Top Court

Her Statues "Represent Will Of People," Mayawati Tells Top Court

Her Statues "Represent Will Of People," Mayawati Tells Top Court (file image)

New Delhi: BSP Supremo Mayawati on Tuesday justified her life-size statues built in Uttar Pradesh with crores in public money when she was Chief Minister. Mayawati told the Top Court that her statue represents the "will of the people".

In her affidavit before the Supreme Court, Mayawati said, Whether the money should have been spent on education or hospitals "is a debatable question and can't be decided by a court."

The Supreme Court was hearing a 2009 petition against the profusion of statues of Mayawati, her mentor Kanshi Ram and her party Bahujan Samaj Party's symbol, nd elephants that are built at parks in Lucknow and Noida with taxpayers' money when she was chief minister between 2007 and 2012. The statues of bronze, cement and marble had critics accusing her of self-obsession and megalomania.

Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi had earlier said that he was of the tentative view that the BSP chief has to reimburse the taxpayer all the money used in the statues. However, the Chief Justice had stopped short of passing an order to hear what Mayawati had to say.

The BSP Supremo,  on the petition accusing her of glorifying herself, said that with the statues, the state legislature had shown respect to a Dalit woman leader. "How could I defy the will of the state legislature," she said.

"Proper budgetary allocation was made for the statues when I was the Chief Minister of UP," said the politician.

The former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh had said the memorials were constructed so people would draw inspiration from them.

"Why question only Dalit leaders' statues and not the ones erected by the Congress and the BJP using public money," the 63-year-old leader questioned, referring to statues of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shivaji, NT Rama Rao and Jayalalithaa.

She also claimed that the statues of elephants in the memorials were "mere architectural design" and not representative of her party's symbol.