Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has showered praise on the multiple and extravagant monuments and parks built by his bete noire -- Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati.
Not so long ago, Akhilesh and his father -- Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav -- had been extremely critical of Mayawati’s penchant for putting up self-aggrandizing monuments and statues during her tenure as the state CM.
They had termed the entire exercise a “gross misuse of the taxpayer’s money.”
But less than two years after the Samajwadi Party successfully ousted the Mayawati-led BSP from power, Akhilesh is singing a different tune.
The monuments and statutes are, according to a year book published by the UP government’s information and public relations department, “commendably creations”.
The year book was, incidentally, formally unveiled by Akhilesh himself on January 17.
Uttar Pradesh -- 2013 describes Mayawati’s monuments and parks as “spectacular places” and “milestones of the first decade of the 21stcentury”.
Throughout their election campaign and even after the formation of the SP government, both Mulayam and Akhilesh had pledged to put the vast stretches of land, gobbled up to set up these parks and monuments, to better use.
Instead, the Akhilesh Yadav-led state government has now begun to shower praise on the monuments.
Praise for the CM’s arch rival Mayawati’s legacy is not limited to a mere line or two in the book, whose content, it has been claimed, had been cleared personally by Akhilesh.
The year book lavishes praise that runs into over two full pages and includes gems like “The huge dome of Masnyawar Kanshiran Ji Smarak Sthal is a commendable creation of engineering. Likewise, both the domes of Samajik Parivartan Sanghralaya are known achievements of engineering and temple architecture. Baudh Vihar Shanti Upvan has become a prominent site of tourism and faith.”
Barely two months back, the UP government registered criminal cases against two ministers in Mayawati’s cabinet -- Naseemudding Siddiqui and Babu Singh Kushwaha -- who had been accused of pilfering nearly Rs 1,400 crore under the garb of constructing these very memorials and monuments.
Meanwhile, when queried about the bizarre content of the year book, Rajendra Chaudhary, the state government’s spokesman, feigned ignorance.
“I don’t believe that the book contains what you are claiming. Perhaps all that has been stated in a different light and the media is giving it a wrong twist,” he alleged.
While state government bureaucrats remained tight-lipped on the issue, it is believed that the booklet was published in a hurry and no one had scanned its content too closely.
Parts of it has been, evidently, lifted from publications from the BSP regime which trumpeted Mayawati’s ‘achievements’.
Image: Mayawati poses next to her own statue