New Delhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the construction of life-size statues of herself represents the “will of the people”.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, said: “The will of the people was expressed by the state legislatures with a proposal to install the statues of her to show their respect to contemporary women dalit leader.”
The affidavit also mentioned that the memorials and statues of herself and other leaders are intended to promote values and ideals of various sants, gurus, social reformers and leaders among the public and not intended to promote the symbol of BSP or to glorify her.
Last month, the Supreme Court, while making an oral observations, said Mayawati should reimburse the public money spent on erecting statues of herself and the party symbol, the elephant, in public places. “Madam Mayawati, reimburse to the exchequer the public money you have spent on the elephants,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said.
The SC was hearing advocate Ravi Kant’s PIL alleging misuse of crores of rupees of public money spent for installing the statues, including in a park in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. Filed in 2009, the PIL sought a restraint order against the installations, which Kant was carried out at the cost of the state exchequer. The advocate had asked for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe. Mayawati in her affidavit rubbished the claims made in the PIL.
Kant’s PIL alleged that public money was spent to “falsely glorify” the then chief minister. The statues were installed at a cost of Rs 52.20 crore at public places.
The remarks were oral observations directed at senior advocate Rakesh Khanna, who was representing the leader in a 10-year-old public interest litigation (PIL) that alleged misuse of public money for installing the statues.