Prompted allegedly by a petition in the Supreme Court, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday night surprised many and unveiled as many as 15 projects, including memorials and statues eight days before the schedule.
Officials admitted that the unveiling ceremony was to take place on July 3 but Mayawati changed the schedule as Delhi-based lawyer Ravi Kant filed a public interest litigation in the apex court seeking to prevent her from inaugurating projects.
"Ravi Kant yesterday moved an application for urgent hearing pleading that Mayawati should not be allowed to unveil the various projects. As the hearing was to take place June 29, the chief minister inaugurated the projects today," an official said preferring anonymity.
Ravi Kant told to IANS from New Delhi on telephone that "she hurriedly inaugurated some of her pet projects as she apprehended that the judiciary may not approve them. "It's the first sign of our victory," he added.
At the hurriedly organised function in Lucknow, Mayawati did not explain the change in schedule but targeted her rivals.
"To malign my image, my opponents have launched a vicious campaign against me. They accuse me of misusing public money for constructing parks, museums, and memorials dedicated to Dalits," said Mayawati.
"It (the charge) is totally baseless. I am not misusing funds," the Bahujan Samaja Party (BSP) chief said.
One of the statues unveiled is her own, and she clarified, "It's because of the wish of (BSP founder) late Kanshi Ram who had desired that a statue of his political successor should be installed beside his."
Majority of the projects inaugurated are part of the multi-crore Ambedkar Sthal in Gomti Nagar and the Kanshi Ram memorial in New Delhi.