Not more than one per cent of the state's budget had been spent on memorials to Dalit icons, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said on Thursday, adding that three years of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government had led to an environment free of terror, crime, injustice and corruption.
Addressing a press conference to mark three years of BSP rule in the state, Mayawati staunchly defended the construction of memorials and statues to herself and Dalit icons.
"Yes, I have built memorials and statues to commemorate the rich contribution of such personalities who had done yeoman social service and reforms, but their work never received due recognition in successive Congress governments or the other regimes."
Justifying the allocation of more than Rs 6, 000 crore towards these memorials, she asserted: "Whatever I have spent each year towards commemoration of these icons was not more than one percent of the state's annual budget."
Extolling the virtues of her three-year rule, Mayawati told a crowded press conference: "What my government has achieved over a period of three years, since we rode on to power entirely on our own strength, cannot be matched by any other political party that has ever remained in power in the state."
She said there was "utter jungle raj" when the BSP assumed office in May 2007.
"And I am proud of the fact that in three years, I have been able to create a terror-free, fear-free, crime-free, injustice-free and corruption-free environment by putting the law of the land back on the rails."
In her view, her government "could have done wonders" had the central government extended cooperation in adequately sharing the cost of various development programmes.
Training her guns at the central government, she said it had deprived the state of Rs 17, 000 crores, "the state's legitimate share towards various schemes already carried out over the past three years".
Focussing on the Congress-led government's "conspiracy" against her regime, Mayawati recalled how New Delhi had not paid any attention to her repeated demand for a special economic package of Rs 80, 000 crores for the uplift of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal.
"The central government had even gone to the extent of violating the provisions of an order of the country's apex court, that had clearly ruled in 2005 that the centre would have to bear the entire financial burden of programmes initiated by it in states.
"The recent decision of the central government on right to education was a point in that very regard; and even as the UPA regime decided to insure free education across the country, it failed to make corresponding financial provisions for it," the chief minister added.
In a sharp deviation from the past practice, Mayawati did not hold a big bash on her government's third anniversary. But senior bureaucrats, police officials and the media were treated to a sumptuous lunch.