Taking a dig at BSP supremo Mayawati, Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan said on Sunday that her main purpose in erecting statues of several Dalit icons, including B R Ambedkar, when she was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister was to build her own statues.
Paswan's comments came in the wake of some adverse observations made by the Supreme Court in a plea filed against her decision to spend public money on statues of leaders, some of whom were linked to her party, and also on the BSP symbol of the elephant when she was at the helm in UP.
"Her main purpose was to erect her own statues. Installing statues of the likes of Baba Sahab was an excuse," Paswan said.
Following the court's observation that she may have to return the money spent on the exercise, Mayawati had lashed out at rival leaders and the media for distorting the judicial observations and expressed faith that she would get justice in the matter.
The Supreme Court on Friday said that prima facie BSP leader Mayawati has to pay back all the public money spent on her statue and elephants while hearing a plea seeking direction to restrain her from spending public money on building statues. Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the SC would hear the plea questioning the expenditure on the elephant status on April 2.
The apex court was replying to the hearing of a plea seeking direction to restrain her from spending public money on building statues.
It said, "This is our tentative view. Mayawati should reimburse the public exchequer all the amounts spent for these elephants. Supreme Court fixes April 2 for the final hearing of PIL questioning the money spent on the elephant statues in the Noida," said the Supreme Court bench comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna led by CJI."
A large number of statues depicting BSP supremo Mayawati, her mentor Kanshi Ram, and the party's elephant symbol, had come under the scanner.
In Noida, the Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden were constructed on 33 acres of land. Estimates suggest that each statue of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati cost Rs 6.65 crores. Each elephant statue costs more than Rs 70 lakh.
(With agency inputs)