A day after the Supreme Court suggested that former UP Chief Minister Mayawati return the crores she had spent on statues installed in parks across Lucknow and Noida, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief urged that the observation of the top court shouldn't be "distorted". The Dalit leader, who recently joined Twitter, made the request with a post.
"Humble request to the media please don't distort oral observation of the Honorable court. Sure to get justice in this matter also. Media and BJP leaders please stop kite flying," she said in her tweet.
During her stint as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2007 and 2012, Mayawati had built memorials of Dalit icons and embellished hundreds of parks with statues not only of elephants, but also her own and her mentor Kanshi Ram.
The BSP chief defended the statues saying "marvellous memorials and parks built to honour ignored gurus and saints born in Dalit and OBC communities are tourist attractions in the state".
Marvellous Sthals/Memorials/Parks etc. built to honour hitherto ignored great Sants, Gurus and great men born in deprived and oppressed Dalit and OBCs are new grand identity and tourist attraction of Uttar Pradesh which gives regular income to government.- Mayawati (@SushriMayawati) February 9, 2019
Several petitions were filed that highlighted the "blatant misuse" of the public money. Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav, then Mayawati's bitter rival, had even claimed that she had spent nothing less than Rs 40,000 crore.
"We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the state exchequer," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said on Friday.
"Pay all the money from your pocket," the Chief Justice said.
The top court was hearing a petition filed in 2009 by an advocate who had alleged that hundreds of crores of rupees were used from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The next hearing in the case is on April 2.
BSP's Satish Chandra Misra said, "This was an oral observation and not an order. The only thing ordered was that the next hearing will be in April."
The party's viewpoint will be placed before the court, he said.
Akhilesh Yadav, who has stitched an alliance with Mayawati ahead of the national election barely a few months away, refrained from repeating his charge.
"I don't have the full information on this. The court might have made some observations. BSP's lawyers will present their side in the court," he told reporters.