Lucknow: The expensive giant statues of BSP supremo Mayawati and party symbol elephant in Uttar Pradesh will remain safe with Samajwadi's star campaigner Akhilesh Yadav saying today they will not be pulled down after the change of guard in the state.
Yadav, who powered Samajwadi's campaign to help his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to regain power, had said in the midst of a poll campaign last year that there would be no sign of these statues once his party gains power.
The 39-year-old engineer-turned politician spoke about the statues and memorials of other dalit leaders facing no threat when asked by reporters whether they will be pulled down after the Samajwadi leadership remained on course to dethrone arch rival Mayawati.
Akhilesh had said last year that Mayawati's statues would be pulled down after the UP polls in the same way as seen in the recent cases of "dictators" in foreign countries.
"In the recent times, uprising in some countries against dictators saw their statues being pulled down...In 2012, the day Samajwadi Party government comes to power there would be no sign of the grand statues of Mayawati," Yadav had said while he was on Samajwadi Kranti Rath Yatra in the Bundelkhand region.
He had said that the places vacant in the parks where the memorials were set up spending huge sums of money could have been used for the construction of hospitals and education institutes.
After remaining draped for 52 days with cloth and tarpaulin following an order of the Election Commission, 11 statues of Mayawati and over 200 in Lucknow and Noida, a Delhi suburb, were uncovered on March 4.
The Election Commission had ordered the unveiling of these statues after completion of the last phase of polling on Saturday last.
The directives came following complaints from political parties to the Election Commission that Mayawati is a living leader and the elephant is poll symbol of ruling party BSP.
While the elephants were covered with plastic sheets which were tied at all ends to prevent the sheets from slipping, iron scaffoldings were put around the bigger jumbos to prevent any kind of damage to them.
The exact cost of the mammoth exercise is yet to be worked out, though it is estimated that it would have cost over a crore.