LUCKNOW: Lashing out at the Election Commission, UP Chief Minister and ruling BSP supremo Mayawati, on the occasion of her 56th birthday on Sunday, termed the decision to cover her statues and that of the elephants ‘anti-Dalit’ and ‘outrageous’.
Mayawati, who is known to celebrate her birthday lavishly, kept it a low-key affair this time. She released the seventh volume of her book ‘Bahujan Samaj ka safarnama’ at her party office in Lucknow and hosted lunch for the mediapersons. Fear of the Election Commission’s code of conduct was palpable at the venue on the occasion.
The CM donned simple attire, avoiding her diamondstudded necklaces and rings, which she normally sports on this occasion. More than 400 statues have been covered with clothes following the Commission’s directives to avoid ‘publicity to Mayawati and her party’s symbol developed on government funds’. She clarified that her statues had been put up with late Kanshi Ram, who was the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party, according to his wishes and will. Similarly, the elephant statues had been put up in the parks and the monuments to ‘welcome thousands of tourists who come to the parks and the monuments from different parts of the country’.
Mayawati said the EC’s decision was apparently taken under the pressure of the Congress.
“Draping my statues and elephants’ is an insult to the sentiments of late Kanshi Ram and Dalits,” she thundered indicating that in the coming days she would play up this issue in her election campaign for February election to the state Assembly. “I am thankful to the Opposition parties also who played an active role in ensuring covering of the statues. God bless the Opposition parties to make more such efforts which help us,” taunted Mayawati.
She asked why the Commission did not order covering of handpumps - the election symbol of the Rashtriya Lok Dal - and hand - the symbol of the Congress? Later, she released the list of the party candidates, making it clear that the BSP would go to the polls alone.
Unlike the last Assembly elections, this time she is depending more on the Muslims by fielding 85 candidates from this community.