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So what if I install my own statues, says Mayawati

By Sharad Pradhan
March 16, 2010 02:15 IST
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Unmindful of the widespread criticism she has invited for her actions, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati sees nothing wrong with installing her own statues.

"So what if I install my own statues ; is there any law to prevent the installation of statues of living personalities", Mayawati asked the delirious crowds at the party rally organised in Lucknow on Monday to mark the BSP's 25th anniversary .

Held at the sprawling Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow, the rally also marked the 76th birth anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram. She said,"My critics often argue that it was inappropriate to install statues of a living person, but I wish to ask them if there was any law disallowing installation of statues of important personalities during their lifetime."

She went on to add, "and which law dissallows expenditure on statues of living personalities?"

Justifying the thousands of crores that were spent out of the state exchequer on her dream projects - statues and memorials–she sought to point out , "let me tell you that all the expenditure on these projects was just about one per cent of the state's annual budget."

It was another matter that she conveniently avoided mentioning that the state's budget was a whopping Rs.1.5 lakh crores , whose one per cent ran to about Rs.1500 crore.

Referring to her party icons, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Chattrapati Shahu Maharaj , Narayana Guru, Ramaswamy Periyar and founder Kanshi Ram, she sought to point out, "All these personalities were great social reformers, whose contribution was deliberately ignored by the Congress, which continued to eulogise the Nehru- Gandhi-clan."

Flaying the Congress for its "biases," she said, "those who question my expenditure in the name of those who were responsible from bringing about grassroot social change in this nation have never raised even an eyebrow on the untold billions that have been spent on landmarks created in the name of members of the Gandhi-Nehru family."

"If the Congress party which has ruled India for decades together, had cared to pay due respect to these great social reformers, we would not have had to erect memorials for them or install their statues", she argued. "Remember that those who are unable to create history always lagged behind and were invariably pushed into oblivion ; that is why it was important to leave such imprints that will stay for times to come", she asserted.

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Sharad Pradhan in Lucknow