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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

India's Mayawati Helps the Poor by Erecting Thousands of Statues of Herself

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan
While other parts of India focus on building software parks and special tax-free economic zones to attract investment, in Uttar Pradesh (UP) chief minister Mayawati has a different agenda.

Mayawati, who goes by one name, has erected so many statues of herself and her late political mentor Kanshi Ram that it has led to a public outcry and a complaint to India's Supreme Court. Her critics say the statues have also put severe strain on the budget of Uttar Pradesh, which is India's most populous state and one of its least developed.

The statues and parks are being constructed by the local government with a zeal some commentators say would be better channeled towards improving roads, healthcare, education and law and order.

Huge statues of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram have sprung up across the state, as have marble and stone carved elephants, the logo of Mayawati's political outfit, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

According to estimates, the state has already spent over 15 billion rupees (US$313 million) on statues and parks, with the final aim of constructing 10,000 statues across the state. In its supplementary budget for 2009-10, the Uttar Pradesh government has allocated 7 billion rupees for memorials and parks, with 270 million rupees earmarked for new statues.
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