Statues not at the cost of poor man’s welfare: BSP

July 1st, 2009 - 1:02 am ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party Lucknow, June 30 (IANS) Defending Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati against the Congress’ criticism, her confidant and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra Tuesday reiterated that the drive to build memorials and install statues of Dalit icons would not affect the state’s welfare schemes.
“While undertaking the construction of memorials and statues, we are not in any way compromising with the programmes meant for the development of the state or for the upliftment of the poor,” Misra said in a release issued by the state information department.

Referring to senior Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh who have criticised BSP chief Mayawati, Misra said: “I wish to ask the Congress leaders if they can afford to cut down their (the central government’s) defence budget or the external affairs budget in order to use that money for building schools for the poor or for installation of hand pumps in villages.

“Today BSP is being criticised for spending government funds on memorials devoted to Dalit icons, though the Congress has spent thousands of crores on memorials devoted to the Gandhi-Nehru family,” he added, echoing Mayawati’s remarks.

He also questioned the conversion of a huge chunk of prime land in the national capital for Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi, as also that of the first Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s official bungalow as a memorial.

Misra termed the criticism as a “discriminatory approach” and “reflection of the upper caste mindset of Congress leaders”.

Justifying the installation of Mayawati’s own statues that were ironically unveiled by herself here last week, the BSP general secretary, who has shot into the spotlight as the architect of the party’s “social engineering”, pointed out: “Mayawati’s statues are being installed only in fulfilment of BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s last wishes that every statue of his must be accompanied by that of Mayawati-ji.”

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