New Delhi: BSP chief Mayawati is known to harbour a fetish for erecting her statue and the party’s symbol elephant. During her reign as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, she came under persistent opposition attack for spending colossal amount of money on these status and parks in Lucknow and Noida.
She is in for trouble now. The firebrand politician has been ticked by the Supreme Court on Friday for misuse of public money to fulfill her expensive wishes. “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,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
The bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna, posted the matter for final hearing on April 2. The bench made it clear the tentative view was expressed by it as the matter would take some time for hearing.
If the order goes against her, it could be a huge setback for Mayawati ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The Opposition would then have fresh ammunition at hand to corner her from all sides. For the BSP chief, the coming elections would be a do or die battle as she has put everything at stake to win a handsome number of seats in alliance with the SP.
According to advocate Ravi Kant, who filed a petition in 2009, the state government headed by Mayawati had built the memorials, statues and parks at a cost of over Rs 2,600 crore in Lucknow, Noida and few other places in Uttar Pradesh. The petitioner has alleged that crores of rupees was used from the state budget for 2008-09 to glorify Mayawati who was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The issue had then snowballed into a major controversy. The Election Commission went to the point of even ordering wrapping up all the statues before the next elections as the opposition had argued that the permanent structures violated the model code of conduct and could have an undue influence on voters.
Recently, reports had suggested that the Enforcement Directorate has also started looking into alleged irregularities of over Rs 111 crore in construction of memorials in the state during BSP supremo Mayawati’s tenure.