Posted on 10 January 2012
A mammoth task to cover Mayawati and her jumbos
Labourers race against time to drape the statues of the Chief Minister
and her party symbol
It's a mammoth task few would like to undertake. Draping several
statues of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and her party symbol, the
elephant—erected across the state after wasting crores of government
funds—is a jumbo operation that has to be finished by Wednesday.
While the Election Commission of India has directed the District
Election Officers of Lucknow and Noida to finish 'Operation Cover Up'
by Wednesday to prevent the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party from gaining
political mileage by using the sculptors in the forthcoming Assembly
elections, contractors and labourers are racing against time to finish
the daunting task. They could even slog in the shivering temperature
to meet the deadline.
Thirty-five-year-old Rampal had draped 15 small elephant statues with
pink polythene by late Tuesday afternoon skipping his lunch as the
workload had increased suddenly. As TV cameras and reporters, along
with curious onlookers, gathered at the site, Rampal fails to fathom
the urgency in covering the statues. "Few months ago, we were being
pressured to complete these statues. Now, we have been told to cover
them at the earliest," a busy Rampal tells TEHELKA while draping a
Rampal, who hails from Rajasthan, has been carving out statues at the
Dalit Prerna Sthal, Noida, for the last two years. He proudly shows
one of his works in the park. The Dalit Prerna Sthal was inaugurated
last October costing a whooping Rs 685 crore.
While the elephants were draped in pink polythene, special care was
being taken to cover the statue of Mayawati. A wooden structure was
erected around her life-size statue and while the huge elephants were
draped in not more than 20-25 minutes, it almost took the entire day
to cover the gigantic symbol of her narcissistic cravings in pink
Officials say that about 70 elephant statues and four effigies of the
Chief Minister will be covered in the Gautam Budh Nagar district. "The
statues will be covered by Wednesday noon and report will be send to
the EC by evening," Hridesh Kumar, District Magistrate, Gautam Budh
Nagar, told TEHELKA. When asked about the cost involved, Kumar said
that he was not in the loop as the expenditure was being borne by the
Noida and Greater Noida Authority.
Now, entering Noida via Kalindi Kunj, four statues draped in pink
polythene greet commuters instead of the usual elephants, which
explicitly portrayed Behenji's penchant for power display. While
Monday was spent on choosing the polythene colour and working out
other details, pink won the race as it does not represent any party's
official colour. Incidentally, Mayawati has been often spotted wearing
pink clothes and sporting a handbag of the same colour.
Darpesh, one of the contractors in charge of covering the statues,
informs that the labour has almost been doubled. "Earlier, labourers
were covering just one side. Now, both the sides are being covered
simultaneously," he says pointing to the 20 huge elephant statues at
Dalit Prerna Sthal. According to Darpesh, about 200 labourers are
involved in covering these statues and the work could go on till late
night. "As we have been asked to work unless all the statues are
covered, we might end up working all through the night."
With the possibility of the DM inspecting the work progress, labourers
have been instructed to work at a frenetic pace. They miss the
much-needed, quick tea break as they move to cover the next jumbo.
Samarth Saran is a Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
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