Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has pulled up Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly adopting double standards in construction of memorials in memory of saints and leaders of the country. She also criticised all the previous governments including those of Congress and Samajwadi Party for ignoring dalit icons.
“If building grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore is a noble step, how building memorials in the name of dalit leaders were extravagance,” asked Mayawati. The BSP supremo was commenting on Central government’s endeavour to build Shivaji Maharaj’s memorial in the Arabian Sea in Mumbai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed Bhomi Puja for the memorial in the middle of the Arabian Sea.
As the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2011 to 2013, Mayawati had faced severe criticism from different quarters for ‘wasting taxpayers’ money’ and installing the statues of hers, her mentor Kashi Ram, party symbol elephants and some dalit leaders inside different parks in the state. She faced legal battle in National Green Tribunal, Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court. The issue became a political issue in 2011UP Assembly elections and Mayawati eventually lost in the polls.
“We are not against the construction of memorial for Shivaji Maharaj or any other icon. But all the political parties — be it Congress, BJP or SP — have ignored dalit icons and leaders of Other Backward Castes (OBCs). This is why, we had to construct memorials for dalit icons,” said Mayawati.
The BSP chief also pulled up ruling SP government and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for laying foundation stones of various projects without proper arrangement for funds.
“The stone laying ceremonies by the SP government at a time when elections can be announced any time is completely political and shows the frustration of SP leaders,” she added. She also emphasised that several projects of UP government are stuck due to non-availability of funds.