5 March 2012 Last updated at 03:59 GMT
India Mayawati statues uncovered after election
Authorities in India's Uttar Pradesh state are uncovering statues of
Chief Minister Mayawati and her party symbols two months after they
were shrouded on orders from election chiefs.
The election commission ordered the huge statues to be covered up
until the end of state assembly polls on 3 March.
It said the statues and symbols could influence voters.
Truckloads of plastic sheets were used to cover the monuments to
shield them from voters' eyes.
Voting for the crucial state assembly elections ended on 3 March and
counting is scheduled for 6 March.
Ms Mayawati is famous for building statues of herself and other icons
from her low-caste Dalit community.
In two parks in the state capital, Lucknow, and Noida, a suburb of
Delhi, there are nearly a dozen statues of Ms Mayawati and more than
75 stone elephants - the symbol of her Bahujan Samaj Party.
Under election rules, portraits and calendars bearing photographs of
the chief minister must be removed from government offices ahead of
The election commission had ordered the statues and symbols to be
draped by 11 January.
The commission ordered their unveiling on Saturday and officials said
work began on Sunday.
Continue reading the main story
Statue of elephant covered up in Ambedkar Park in Noida (10/01/12)
In pictures: Covering Mayawati's statues
Reports said scores of workers were uncovering the statues of Mayawati
and other Dalit icons at the Dalit Prerna Sthal park in the Delhi
suburb of Noida.
In nearby Badalpur park, elephant statues were also being uncovered.
Work was also going on at various memorials and parks in the state
Huge numbers of statues commissioned by Ms Mayawati can be seen in
Lucknow and other towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh.
Statues of political leaders are generally put up posthumously, but Ms
Mayawati says that belief is outdated.
Her Dalit supporters take pride in the parks and monuments dedicated
to their community heroes. They say Ms Mayawati has transformed
"Lucknow into London".
Critics, however, accuse her of self-glorification and wasting public money.
In September, leaked US diplomatic cables said Ms Mayawati had sent an
empty private jet to fetch a pair of sandals from Mumbai - a charge
she strongly denied.
Uttar Pradesh is one of India's most deprived states with a high crime
rate and poor health indicators.
The chief minister's spending on statues and memorials has been
described as "shameful" by critics.
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