Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Public Works and Irrigation Minister Shivpal Yadav on Sunday virtually declared war against the party's sworn political foe and former Chief Minister Mayawati.
"Considering the large-scale bungling, we are going to order a high-level probe into the extravagant expenditure on parks, monuments and statues during Mayawati's rule in different parts of the state," Shivpal announced in Allahabad, about 200 kilometre from Lucknow.
He was speaking at a special function organised by the local Christian community to mark Easter Sunday celebrations in Allahabad.
Shivpal, who is SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger brother, and is regarded among the key players in the current regime, was categorical about not sparing anybody.
"Let me make it loud and clear that once misappropriation of public money is detected , strict action will follow against those found guilty -- be it bureaucrats, ministers or even the chief minister", he asserted.
Significantly, Mayawati had spent more than Rs 7,500 crore on her pet projects which primarily comprised a few monuments and multiple statues of herself as well as those of certain Dalit icons.
The money was dutifully allocated out of the state budget. And to justify the whopping expenditure, Mayawati was often heard saying, "Whatever I spent on monuments and statues in Lucknow and Noida was just about one per cent of the state's annual budget that clearly had the sanction of the state legislature -- the highest constitutional body of the state."
What she avoided to mention was the fact that UP's annual budget was of the order of more than Rs 1.70 lakh crore.