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EC orders curtains for Maya, BSP cries foul
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

A statue of UP CM Mayawati and a row of elephants in stone
A statue of UP CM Mayawati and a row of elephants in stone

Lucknow, January 7
Metaphorically, it's curtains for Maya in Uttar Pradesh. Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi today said the dozen-odd statues of Chief Minister Mayawati in Lucknow and Noida would remain covered during the Assembly elections. And so would be the hundreds of stone elephants the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party's official symbol decorating various Dalit parks.

The BSP termed it as yet another example of the anti-Dalit mindset of political parties that had taken up the case with Quraishi. BSP's general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Satish Mishra said the decision was "against natural justice." He said he expected the EC to hear out the BSP's stand before taking the decision.

Addressing the media during a review of poll preparations, Quraishi said EC's decision was part of the enforcement of the model code of conduct. "All statues of the CM and the elephants installed on government expenditure would be covered. This is standard procedure while the model code of conduct is in force in order not to disturb the level playing field," Quraishi said.

Warning of adverse popular reaction, Mishra came out with counter-questions. One of them was whether the EC would consider covering statues of elephants from various temples, President House, North and South Block and even the Lok Sabha Speaker's chair when elections in Delhi are held.

He also wanted to know if all lotus flowers (BJP's symbol) would be plucked from lakes in poll-bound states and cycles (Samajwadi Party's symbol) barred from the roads.

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