Uttar Pradesh [Images] chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati's [Images] fad for her own statues appears to be growing.
The inimitable 52-year old Dalit leader who had already got two imposing statues of herself installed in Lucknow, has now decided to "gift" three more of her statues to the state capital.
A 18-feet tall statue is proposed for the Bahujan Nayak Park, currently being laid on a 50,000 sq foot plot carved out after razing the four-year old state BSP headquarters, which has since been moved to a brand new building in the neighbourhood.
A similar one is planned for Kanshi Ram Memorial that was coming up on a sprawling 32-acre plot of land taken from the Lucknow district jail. Speculation is rife that the third statue would find place on one of the prominent road-junctions in Lucknow.
Government officials dealing with the proposal were tight-lipped about the statues, specially since Mayawati's arch rival Mulayam Singh Yadav [Images] had not only condemned her tendency to install her own statues, but also threatened to get these bulldozed once he came to power.
However, sculptor Ram Sutar, who has been assigned to sculpt the statues in bronze admitted that he was told to accomplish the task as soon as possible. "I have left every other thing and both my son and me are devoting every minute to complete the three statues," confirmed Sutar, who had sculpted two other similar bronze statues installed earlier.
While no one was willing to divulge the cost of these statues, it is said that each of the statues would weigh between 20-25 tonnes. Mayawati's first statue was installed at the Prerna Bhawan that was the first of the series of memorials erected by her to mark the establishment of Dalit rule in the state.
To justify her own statue, Mayawati had clearly told the audience, "I always felt that that memorials should be built during the lifetime of icons, that is why I got the first statue of my mentor Kanshi Ram installed in Lucknow during his lifetime. But because he wished that I should also have my own statue next to his, I decided to go ahead."
The same logic was repeated when she unveiled her second statue together with those of her political mentor Kanshi Ram and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and his wife Rama Bai on the threshold of her dream project -- the Rs 5 billion Ambedkar Park cum Memorial.