Noida/Lucknow: The exercise to drape statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati and her party symbol elephant is in full swing as the Election Commission deadline for a complete cover-up ends at 5pm Wednesday.
The poll panel had ordered all such statues to be covered up till the Assembly polls in the state are over to ensure a level playing field for all political parties.
Many of these statues in the state were put under cover on Tuesday. In Lucknow, the exercise started from Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, including Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal, which houses more than 50 statues of Mayawati and BSP poll symbol elephant.
Similar exercise was carried out at the Samajik Parivartan Sthal where Mayawati's statue has been installed along with BSP founder Kanshiram.
By late evening, around eight statues of elephant were covered with yellow tarpaulin and the work continued at the site.
Though an iron structure was erected on both sides at Prateek Sthal, the statue of Mayawati and murals on the side walls could not be covered yesterday.
Meanwhile, one statue of Mayawati was covered with ply fixed on a wooden structure at Smriti Upvan.
Reports from Noida said statues of elephant were draped at Dalit Prerna Sthal and work would be completed by today evening.
The site has 30 elephant statues made of stone and 22 elephant statues made of bronze. Besides, it has two statues of Mayawati.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court is also due to hear today a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Election Commission's January 7 order to cover statues of BSP chief Mayawati and the party symbol of elephant in the poll-bound state.
The petitioner has argued that the elephant represents Lord Ganesha and draping its statues could hurt religious sentiments.
The Election Commission had acted after numerous political parties complained the statues gave the ruling party an upper hand in the election season. The Election Commission said the statues stood in violation of the model code and must be covered till the elections are over.
The model code of conduct states that the pictures of all candidates on public property must be covered during elections. The same logic would apply to statues as well.
Last year, Mayawati had inaugurated the 33-acre Dalit Prerna Sthal or the Ambedkar Park in Noida. Mayawati spent Rs 650 crore for the development of the park, which has several statutes of Dalit leaders.
The park has 24 pink sandstone elephants, 12 life-size statues of Dr BR Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and the UP Chief Minister herself.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 09:17