New Delhi/Noida, Jan 18 (ANI): Chief Election Commissioner, S Y Quraishi, strongly defended the poll body's move to cover statues and sculptures, depicting the symbol and senior leaders of Uttar Pradesh ruling Bahujan Samaj Party, on Wednesday.
Training guns at BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, Quraishi maintained that the move was in-sync with the prescribed model code of conduct.
"We always remove photographs of leaders of the ruling party that is placed in government offices, since it is part of the model code of conduct. If we remove photographs and posters but not the statues only because they are big, then this is not right. There is no law supporting this, because law does not discriminate," Quraishi told mediapersons on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi.
A few weeks ago, the Election Commission had ordered the authorities of Uttar Pradesh to drape all the statues of BSP leaders and sculptures of elephant-the party's poll symbol-that had been erected at parks and other public places across the state by January 11, 2012.
The order was issued in wake of the Uttar Pradesh state assembly polls commencing in early February this year. The EC had taken the decision on the premise that the statues needed to be covered since all of them had been constructed with government funds.
The EC's directive triggered a fierce political outcry by the BSP, which called the move 'one sided' and 'biased.'
In a recent news conference, Mayawati went on to urge the EC to also cover statues erected by India's ruling Congress Party and regional Samajwadi Party (SP)-the BSP's principal political rivals-in other states.
Clarifying his stand on the row, Quraishi launched a scathing counter-attack at the BSP.
"Leaders should make such remarks with caution. We did not cover the statues and symbols of other parties because tomorrow, even these parties and leaders can approach us asking permission to build 200 pedestals in government parks and place their symbols on them. What answer do we give in such a situation?" said Quraishi.
The draping of statues-numbering hundreds in Uttar Pradesh-not only proved to be a Herculean task for the authorities, but it also highlighted the true cost that had gone into the construction of more than 200 sculptures of elephants and statues of BSP leaders across the state.
In 2011, Mayawati had inaugurated the 33-acre park named after lower caste icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar in Noida, a satellite city of the Indian capital.
The park, which was built from the government exchequer by spending Rs 650 crore has statues of scores of elephants, Dalit icons, B. R. Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and Mayawati. (ANI)
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