Mayawati defends building memorials after Supreme Court tells her to reimburse public money

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati took to Twitter on Saturday to defend building memorials and parks, a day after the Supreme Court in oral observations said she should reimburse the public money spent on erecting statues of herself and the party symbol, the elephant, in public places during her tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Mayawati who joined Twitter only last month said the memorials give a ‘grand identity’ to Dalits and ‘give regular income to government.’

The apex court’s observation came when it was hearing advocate Ravi Kant’s PIL alleging misuse of crores of rupees of public money spent for installing the statues, including in a park in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. The PIL was filed in 2009.

He has sought a restraint order against the installations, which Kant said was being done at the cost of the state exchequer. He also asked for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe and also a directive to remove the statues.

The statues in Noida and Lucknow were unveiled in March 4, 2012 after the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh which the BSP had lost.

The statues were covered on January 11 that year on the orders of the then Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, after opposition parties complained that the elephants, made at the cost of public exchequer, gave an “unfair advantage” to the BSP which was then in power.

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