Amid a hail of criticism over her wearing a garland strung with 1000-rupee notes, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has convened a meeting of her party leaders in Lucknow on Wednesday.
The giant garland, used to honour Mayawati during the Bahujan Samaj Party's silver jubilee celebrations on Monday led to a new controversy, as it was alleged to have been made of Rs 1,000 currency notes worth Rs 5 crores.
The emergency meeting has been called amid reports that the Income Tax department is about to probe the issue. Income tax officials have reportedly been ordered to investigate the source from which the cash garland that was presented to Mayawati came. The department is reportedly collecting photographs and video footage of the garland from various sources, including newspapers and TV channels that covered the event.
The BSP leaders in Lucknow pointed out that there was no need for an inquiry, as the garland was a gift from party workers. They claimed that the party had receipts for the donations and they would be furnished to the investigating agency, if required.
A close aide of Mayawati, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, said, “Party workers from the Lucknow zone had raised funds to gift the garland.” Terming the Lok Sabha pandemonium a natak (farce), he said each currency note in the garland was “hard earned by BSP workers”.
In the Lok Sabha, the first protest came from Congress member Jagdambika Pal who said gifting the garland made of currency notes had violated the basic tenets of the Constitution. Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav came out in support of Pal and wanted the government to find out the source of the money.