Supreme Court raps Mayawati over statue-construction spree

Mayawati had ordered the construction and installation of a number of statues celebrating Bahujan Samaj Party icons during her term as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2011. 

Supreme Court raps Mayawati over statue-construction spree
PTI file photo.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that prima facie Mayawati will have to pay back the public money she spent on building statues in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Hearing a plea seeking direction to restrain her from spending public money on statues, the Supreme Court rapped Mayawati for the expenditure on the statues. CJI Ranjan Gogoi will hear the plea on April 2.

Mayawati had ordered the construction and installation of a number of statues celebrating Bahujan Samaj Party icons during her term as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2011. The then state government had spent an estimated Rs 2,600 crore on statues and parks in Lucknow, Noida and several other cities. A complaint from the vigilance department said that the state had suffered losses of close to Rs 111 crore in such constructions. In 2015, the Supreme Court had asked Mayawati to provide an estimated cost involved in the construction of all the statues she had ordered. Last month, the Enforcement Directorate had also conducted raids at several locations in Lucknow in connection with the same.

While Mayawati has maintained that the statues and parks have been constructed with the money received from well-wishers of BSP, many regard the expenditure as a gross and shallow exercise in political narcissism using public money.