Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Why English name for statue: Maya

BSP chief Mayawati seeks apology from BJP and Sangh for past attacks on her govt for building memorials for Dalit icons

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 1.11.18, 2:30 AM
  • Updated 1.11.18, 2:30 AM
  • a min read
  •  
BSP chief Mayawati said, “The BJP-RSS and Co. should apologise to the bahujan samaj (Dalits and backward classes) for blaming the BSP government for construction of memorials in the name of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and other Dalit and backward leaders in Lucknow and Noida”. Telegraph file picture

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Wednesday said the BJP and the Sangh should apologise for past attacks on her government when it built memorials to Dalit icons and lashed out also at the “English name” of Sardar Patel’s statue unveiled in the morning.

“The BJP-RSS and Co. should apologise to the bahujan samaj (Dalits and backward classes) for blaming the BSP government for construction of memorials in the name of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and other Dalit and backward leaders in Lucknow and Noida,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said in a statement.

“They had called it ‘wastage of public money’. The Statue of Unity was built with Rs 3,000 crore.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier in the day unveiled the 182-metre Statue of Unity in his home state Gujarat, a Rs 2,989 crore monument to India’s first home minister that towers nearly twice the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

Mayawati said the name given to the statue indicated the English mindset of the Modi government and the BJP.

“Sardar Patel was very much an iconic figure… in his life and represented Indian culture. But the English name ‘Statue of Unity’ given to it makes clear whether it is mere politics or they have true regard (for Patel),” she said.

“Like Ambedkar, Patel was also a nationalist. But the BJP and the central government have limited him into narrow politics of regionalism. The BJP government of Gujarat would have built the statue of Sardar in the state much before had they any real regard for him.”

Mayawati had several memorials and parks constructed in the name of Ambedkar, Narayana Guru, Jyotiba Phule, Kanshi Ram and other Dalit icons when she was chief minister from 2007 to 2012.

Her government had spent more than Rs 5,000 crore on these structures and got her own statues installed too along with those of Kanshi Ram and the other leaders.

The statue installations later emerged as the biggest political issue for Opposition parties. The Samajwadi Party promised to bulldoze the memorials if it came to power. The party, however, did nothing against these structures except for disrupting power supply to these parks and monuments.