Finally, covers go off Mayawati statues
Draped in pink sheets since Jan 11 following an Election Commission (EC) order, the covers have gone go off scores of statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and elephants - the poll symbol of her party - in public spaces across Lucknow and Noida.
These include nine statues of Mayawati and 156 statues of elephants in Lucknow. Covers were removed from a total of 112 statues in Noida and Greater Noida.
District Magistrate Hridyesh Kumar told IANS in Noida: "I ordered the Noida and Greater Noida authorities to unveil the statues...we have implemented the Election Commission's orders."
The covers were taken off 36 statues of Mayawati and elephants in Gautam Budh University, Badalpur, and in Surajpur town in Greater Noida. Covers were removed from 76 statues in the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida, he said.
In a late night decision on Saturday, the EC ordered that the statues be uncovered, following the completion of the voting process in Uttar Pradesh.
The statues were covered on the orders of Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, after opposition parties complained that the elephants, made at the cost of public exchequer, gave an "unfair advantage" to the ruling BSP.
On Jan 11, the statues were covered, and over 2 km of pink polythene was used to cover the 200 plus statues of elephants -- the BSP's party symbol.
The veils of statues of the chief minister at Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal in Gomti Nagar in Lucknow and the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida, were fixed by cardboards on iron scaffoldings.
The Dalit prerna sthal in Noida, built at a whopping cost of Rs 685 crore, has 30 elephant statues made of stone and 22 elephant statues made of bronze. It also houses two life-size statues of Mayawati.