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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

'Statue!' says Election Commission to Maya

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 04, 2009
First Published: 23:32 IST(4/8/2009) | Last Updated: 23:36 IST(4/8/2009)

There’s trouble brewing for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati over installation of her statues and those of the Bahujan Party’s (BSP) elephant symbol all over the state, including in Noida and Lucknow.

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The Election Commission has asked the BSP to explain why Mayawati should not be debarred from contesting elections and the party symbol frozen for putting up statues of BSP leaders and the party symbol at public places.

The Commission on Monday sought a reply from the BSP on a complaint by civil society group Common Cause alleging that installing of statues with the BSP symbol and those of the UP chief minister was against the spirit of the Constitution, which provides for a level playing field for all political parties.

UP  assembly on Tuesday gave its nod to the state government’s demand for a budgetary allocation of Rs. 453.95 crore for installation of statues and development and beautification of various memorials and an ecological park in Lucknow.

The UP government had on Monday sought a budgetary allocation of Rs. 453 crore for setting up statues, memorials and parks.

The supplementary demands presented in the assembly by parliamentary affairs minister Lalji Verma sought Rs. 55 crore for setting up a memorial on Lucknow’s Jail Road for the late BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Rs. 57.80 crore for developing a park named after him and Rs. 200 crore for an Eco park in Lucknow.

Common Cause said in its complaint that if the structures are allowed to continue. it will violate Article 14 of the Constitution that provides for the Right to Equality to all political parties during elections.

“These statues will mean disadvantage to all political parties vis-à-vis the BSP,” the complaint said.

The NGO has also asked the election symbol of the BSP be frozen as it has been installed in public places.

Action against Mayawati by way of debarring her from contesting polls should be taken as she will continue to create an unequal playing field for her political opponents, the complaint said.

It has also been alleged that the UP government has “favoured a particular political party (BSP) by having its statues installed at various places”.


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