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Special memorial force: Maya stumps UP Governor

Last updated on: April 02, 2010 21:26 IST

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday literally stumped state Governor B L Joshi for sitting pretty over a bill and ordinance for raising a new special protection force to guard the Rs 6000-crore memorials and parks dedicated to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party's dalit icons.

In what was seen as a rude retort to Joshi's continued silence, Mayawati chose to go ahead with her plans even without any word from the Raj Bhawan.

The message was loud and clear -- Mayawati knows how to have her cake and eat it too.

The UP chief minister on Friday made up her mind not wait any longer for Joshi's word and convening a meeting of the state cabinet in the afternoon , she decided to tell the Governor that his sleeping over the bill would not make any difference to her plans.

The cabinet meeting was followed by a press conference, where UP cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, who gave an interesting justification for the government's decision to speed up the creation of the new force.

According to him, "The new force comprising only ex-servicemen and to
be headed by a retired army officer of the rank of colonel, would be in place in the next two to three weeks."

"Normally, one does not require a legislation to raise a special security force which could be done through an administrative order only; but because of certain extraordinary provisions, the government had decided to adopt the constitutional process, for which a bill was duly passed by the state assembly and forwarded to the Governor as early as on February 18," Singh said.

"However, when no word was received from the Raj Bhawan for more than a month, the state government issued an ordinance that was sent to Raj Bhawan on March 26," Singh added.

He said, "While it was the Governor's prerogative to take any view in the matter, the state government had no choice but to initiate the recruitment process for raising the new force, simply because of the impending threats to the memorials and monuments erected as a mark of respect to icons of the downtrodden classes."

While highlighting the contribution of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar
and Kanshi Ram to the cause of the dalit movement, Singh said, "You are aware how such monuments, memorials and parks have become an eyesore for those opposed to these great social reformers belonging to the lower and backward castes."

He went on to add, "You can imagine the social upheaval that could be caused in case such elements managed to vandalise any of these spots. Therefore it was imperative for us to ensure the protection and security of these places without any further delay."

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow