IN A surprise about turn on its stand on the issue, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) virtually crossed the Lakshman Rekha when it decided to uproot some 6,000 saplings to make way for Samajwadi Party’s rally at the old Lakshman Mela Ground here on November 25.
The saplings were specially ferried from Ghaziabad and Malihabad by the LMC, which had already spent a substantial amount of the Rs 96 lakhs given to it by the government as part of the beautification drive.
Only a day couple of back, Municipal Commissioner RB Maurya had turned down a request from former deputy mayor of the BJP Abhay Seth to allot the venue for a BJP rally on December 24 and birthday celebrations of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee the next day. “Come what may but I am not going to uproot the saplings that have been planted by me at the site,” Maurya had asserted knowing little that he would be made to eat his own words by the ruling party very soon.
On Monday, the State Secretary of the SP announced that a special session of the party would be held at the Lakshman Mela Ground on November 25. And lo! Without even waiting for getting the necessary formalities executed not only the venue was promptly allotted to SP but Maurya and his battery of LMC staff spent the whole Monday in digging up the newly planted saplings and dismantling the whole infrastructure. The iron fencing that was put around the 4-acre venue to safeguard these saplings was pulled down; the demolished huge concrete podium was rebuilt even as the Sthal was restored back to its original form.
The LMC bulldozers were pressed into service to level the land to prepare the ground for the November 25 rally even as senior officials including ADG AK Gupta, District Magistrate Ramendra Tripathi and a distraught Municipal Commissioner himself took stock of the preparations Tuesday evening. Earlier Commissioner RK Mittal too had held a meeting to review the arrangements.
Here it is pertinent to mention that Mayor DineshSharma had criticised the LMC for relocating the Sthal to another place.