Page last updated at 13:44 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 14:44 UK

Mayawati statue spree to continue

A crane being used to install a new statue of Ms Mayawati in Lucknow
Mayawati has unveiled several statues of herself (Pic: Kumar Prithvi)

India's Supreme Court has declined to stop the building of statues of the politician Mayawati and her allies.

The court said it could not intervene unless there was evidence of misuse of public money on the part of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state.

Ms Mayawati, a low-caste Dalit - formerly "untouchable" - is an icon for India's 160m low-caste Hindus.

She is accused of self-glorification by her critics. But she accuses her opponents of conspiring against her.

Legal experts say that Friday's decision is a major relief for Ms Mayawati's plans to continue major building works.

She is building several statues of herself, her political mentors and elephants- the symbol of her party.

'No interference'

The man, lawyer Ravi Kant, who initially filed a petition in the Supreme Court a fortnight ago accusing Ms Mayawati of wasting public money and space to build vast statues asked the court to halt the statue building.

But the judge declined the request saying that the matter would be heard four weeks from the day the original petition was filed.

"If a democratically elected government decides to do something without misappropriating public money, there is little the courts can do," Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said.

"If the cabinet has approved a project, we think the court should not interfere," the court said, refusing to interfere in the ongoing work for installation of the statues.

Uttar Pradesh is one of India's most deprived states, with a high crime rate and poor health services.

Ms Mayawati's spending on statues and memorials has been described as "shameful" by India's Home Minister P Chidambaram.

In May she unveiled 15 new memorials, including two of herself.

Statues of political leaders are generally put up posthumously, but Ms Mayawati says that belief is outdated.

Print Sponsor

Mayawati statues spree challenged
29 Jun 09 |  South Asia
India's untouchable icon aims for Delhi
12 Feb 08 |  South Asia
Profile: Mayawati Kumari
16 Jul 09 |  South Asia
Politics and the barrel of the gun
07 May 07 |  South Asia
Summer of discontent in Uttar Pradesh
17 Apr 07 |  South Asia
Hoping against hope in Uttar Pradesh
06 Apr 07 |  South Asia
India politician's wealth probed
01 Mar 07 |  South Asia

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific