By Faisal Fareed, TwoCircles.net,
Lucknow: The Election Commission of India (ECI) set the mercury soaring on a chilly winter day by announcing to cover the statues of Mayawati and elephant in Lucknow and other places on Saturday.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Qureishi announced that all the statues of CM Mayawati, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) election symbol elephant would be covered. "It should be at the earliest as model code of conduct is enforced. No one will be given political mileage. Even pictures of political leaders in government offices will be removed," said Qureishi on Saturday.
Lucknow and Noida have hundreds of elephant statues both in stone and bronze. CM Mayawati's statues some as tall as 24 feet are also installed in various parks and memorials built by the BSP government.
Reacting sharply to CEC's decision, BSP claimed that it reflects anti-dalit mentality of some people. The party claimed that in this manner the statues of Gandhi family and other schemes in their name should also be removed. "Then remove the 'hand' symbol from airport and lotus from every pond. The decision has been taken in haste," said party's national general secretary, Satish Chandra Mishra.
With BSP taking a tough stand, it is expected that the party may approach the court over the announcement. Hundreds of acres of parks in Lucknow and Noida are housing these statues. Opposition parties have been demanding their removal claiming that BSP will get political mileage from them.
Meanwhile in a late night decision, ECI gave another jolt to Maya regime with the removal of its officers namely DGP Brijlal and Principal Secretary (home) Kr Fateh Bahadur Singh. However, no official confirmation in this regard could be obtained.