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Maya justifies construction of statues in Uttar Pradesh

Maya justifies construction of statues in Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi: BSP supremo Mayawati on Tuesday defended in the Supreme Court the construction of life-size statues of herself in Uttar Pradesh, saying they represent the "will of the people".

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, said the memorials and statues of herself and other leaders were "intended to promote values and ideals of various sants, gurus, social reformers and leaders among the public and not intended to promote the symbol of BSP or to glorify" her. Mayawati said in her affidavit that her statues came into being "as the will of the state legislature to represent the will of the people".

She said funds for construction of the memorial and installation of statues were sanctioned through budgetary allocations after approval of the budget by the state legislature.

Mayawati also sought the dismissal of a plea, which alleged that pubic funds were misused in the construction of memorials and statues, saying it is politically motivated and a gross abuse of process of court of law.

On February 8, the apex court had said that the BSP chief should deposit public money used for erecting statues of herself and elephants, the party's symbol, at public places in Uttar Pradesh to the state exchequer.

"Ms Mayawati, pay all the money back. We are of the view that Mayawati should reimburse all the money she spent.

"We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the state exchequer," the bench had said. The top court was hearing a petition filed in 2009 by an advocate who had alleged that about Rs 2,000 crore was used from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10, when Mayawati was the CM of UP, for stalling her statues and BSP's symbol at different places.

It was contended that public money cannot be utilised for creating own statues and for propagating the political party. On May 29, 2009 the court had issued show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and Mayawati for using the public money for installing her statues and party's symbol at parks in Lucknow and Noida, adjacent to the national capital.

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