Under Election Commission orders, the Uttar Pradesh administration started draping statues of chief minister Mayawati and the ruling BSP's symbol in Noida on Sunday even as an official declared that it would be done fully in Lucknow on Monday.
The Election Commission wants every statue of elephant and each statue of Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh should be covered by 5 pm on Wednesday.
Lucknow DM Anil Kumar Sagar said, "I received the written directives from the Election Commission on Sunday evening. The process of covering the statues will be started from Monday."
The work is likely to be executed by the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA).
This is going to be a mammoth task for the officials in Uttar Pradesh as there are ten Mayawati (each about 15 feet high) statues and 90 statues of elephant installed in 10 memorials and parks in Lucknow and two Mayawati statues and 52 elephant statues at the Noida park that will need to be covered.
Officials have just three days from now to cover all the statues as the EC has given the state government time till Wednesday, 5 pm, to cover all the statues in UP.
Bhawna Singh, Manager (Public Relations), told a newspaper that the LDA would hand over the work of draping to a private firm.
However, an official who did not want to be named said the poll watchdog's orders had not arrived till Sunday afternoon and also cited logistics for the delay in covering the statues.
"A huge amount of water proof covers is required. There are more than a hundred life-size statues of elephants," he said.
One of the places where the covering of the statues has begun is the controversial Noida memorial park on the Delhi's outskirts that was inaugurated by Mayawati in October last year amid much fanfare.
On Saturday, chief election commissioner SY Quraishi had announced statues of Mayawati and BSP's election symbol, elephant, across the state would have to be covered till the assembly polls. He had directed the administration to cover the statues of other leaders too.
The ruling BSP has termed the order as "one-sided and against natural justice".
Taking exception to the EC's order, JD-U and CPI said it will give rise to several complications.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, then prime minister A B Vajpayee's photograph on billboards across the country on the Golden Quadrilateral National Highway were covered by cloth in line with the poll panel's directive.