Thursday, January 12, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati draped, govt closes all parks

Mayawati draped, govt closes all parks
Neha Shukla, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 07.08AM IST

LUCKNOW: With cardboard shielding chief minister Mayawati's statues
from public gaze and yellow tarpaulin draping the elephants, the
government took the unusual step of closing down the city's memorials
and parks altogether. The Election Commission on Saturday ordered
covering up of Maya's statues and that of her party symbol, the
elephant, at the city's parks till the polls were over to ensure BSP
does not have an edge over other parties in publicity.

Wednesday was the deadline to complete the cover-up operation. But the
government decided to not just stop with the cover-up exercise. "The
ECI had ordered draping of statues, we decided to close down the parks
completely," Lucknow DM Anil Kumar Sagar told TOI.

Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha, when contacted, said: "We will
talk to the Election Commission of India about this tomorrow
(Thursday) and see what it has to say." On Wednesday, when TOI visited
the parks, the reporters weren't allowed entry, with the guards saying
the parks were closed to public.

There are nine such parks in the city dedicated to Dalit icons and
built at an estimated cost of Rs 3,500 crore. It was only in October
last year that all the parks were thrown open to the public.

On Wednesday, the government made no formal announcement about the
closure of parks. Initially, it appeared that the parks were closed
due to the chaos caused by the presence of labourers and staff, as
they were required to drape statues. But that obviously was not the
case, though no one was venturing an explanation.

The security supervisors at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan
sthal, Gomtinagar, merely informed that all the parks have been closed
down till the polls are over. The staff said, they have been told that
it's a direction by the EC. However, EC officials denied there were
any such directions. The public entry has only been barred in parks
that allow ticket-based entry.

The premises like Smriti Upvan were open to the public, though
journalists were not allowed inside. The government, after covering
all the statues, submitted its status report to the Election
Commission of India. However, while the statues of Mayawati have been
covered at all places with ply-boards, elephants at some of the places
were not covered till late Wednesday evening.

EC had given a deadline of 5 pm on Wednesday to cover all the statues.
The statues of elephants atop pillars were left uncovered at every
memorial and park. At Kanshiram Smarak, Jail Road, elephants on
fountains were also not covered till late in the evening. The giant
jumbos were covered with yellow tarpaulin everywhere.

The Manyavar Kanshiram Ji Green Eco Garden at VIP Road, Dr Bhimrao
Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, Gomtinagar and Smriti Upvan,
ashiana, presented a similar picture where elephants on pillars and
fountains were not covered.

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