New Delhi: Mayawati has been snubbed again by the Supreme Court.
Her Dalit Memorial Park in Noida, outside Delhi, is the latest of her memorials to invoke the court's fury. Her government has been ordered to stop work here immediately.
The lawyer for the Uttar Pradesh government tried to argue that the park will have walk paths and will be like Delhi's famous Lodhi Gardens. The court responded, "Are you comparing this project with a medieval project? That was a different dynasty."
Indeed, Mayawati has been accused of giving herself autocrat-like importance and powers: the expenditure on various parks that she's constructing is estimated to cross more than Rs 2,000 crores. The parks include statues of Dalit leaders including herself.
Her lawyer in court said that 75 per cent of the Noida park has already been built, so suspending work here doesn't make sense. "Why waste public money on something that could be demolished?" thundered the court. More than Rs 600 crores have reportedly been spent on the 33-hectare park along the Yamuna.
The Noida park is controversial because environmentalists argue that Mayawati has not got the required clearances. They say the large-scale construction of statues in the park will seriously endanger the Okhla Bird Sanctuary in the area.
Over the past month, the Supreme Court has taken on Mayawati repeatedly over using taxpayers money for her memorials. Last month, the court ordered construction at all parks to stop while it reviews the issue.
Media reports, including one by NDTV, proved that the order was being defied in Lucknow, leading to a severe warning by the Supreme Court. It said it would ask the Centre to consider dismissing her government if she does not follow court instructions.