Covers put on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's statues - in accordance with the election commission's orders - came off on Sunday.
Officials carrying out the task appeared confused and lifted the covers and said they were acting on the orders of "higher authorities" whom they did not name.
A cover put on the CM's statue at Samata Moolak crossing in Lucknow came off, as did the plastic sheets placed for around 20 minutes on the statues at Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden, a R685-crore park in Noida.
On Saturday, chief election commissioner SY Quraishi had announced statues of Mayawati and BSP's election symbol, elephants, installed in parks and memorials across the state would have to be covered till the assembly polls next month. He had directed the administration to cover the statues of other leaders too to provide a level playing field.
An official who did not want to be named said the poll watchdog's orders had not arrived 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."
Lucknow district magistrate Anil Kumar Sagar said, "I received the written directives from the election commission just in the evening. The process of covering the statues will be started from Monday." The sanctity of all statues would be maintained, he added.
The DM said he had no knowledge who covered the statues and took off the covers later. Sources said the Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (RNN) would do the job now. Insiders said waterproof tent cloth would be used to cover the elephants and a plywood cover would be raised to veil the statue of chief minister Mayawati at Samta Moolak Chowk. The CMs' other statues would be covered with waterproof cloth too.