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Mayawati unveils statues of Dalit icons, herself

Kanshi Ram wanted me alongside his statue, says UP CM.

Agencies

Updated:April 14, 2008, 5:03 PM IST
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Mayawati unveils statues of Dalit icons, herself
Kanshi Ram wanted me alongside his statue, says UP CM.

Lucknow: UP Chief Minister Mayawati unveiled four new statues in Lucknow on Monday: of Dalit leader B R Ambedkar, his wife Ramabai, her mentor Kanshi Ram and a statue of herself.

Statues of political leaders are usually installed in India after their deaths, but Mayawati it seems finds nothing wrong in breaking the tradition. "In his will, Kanshiramji stated that ‘Mayawati is my true follower, her statues shall also be installed,” she said while inaugurating the statues at the Rs 500-crore Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal (Ambedkar Memorial for Social Change).

"Following Kanshiramji’s will, my statues have been installed next to those of him at Bahujan Prerna Kendra in Lucknow and New Delhi, where his ashes are kept," Mayawati said on the occasion of Ambedkar’s 117th birth anniversary.

Mayawati claimed Kanshiram, the founder of BSP, had said memorials and statues of eminent people could be installed irrespective of whether they are dead or alive. “That's why my statues have been installed in Lucknow and New Delhi,” she was quoted by PTI as saying.

Her 45-minute-long speech, which she is understood to have prepared herself, sounded more like a pre-election message making it clear that none other than Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram and herself were genuinely concerned for the Dalits and backward classes.

"The Congress has been spending hundreds of crores of rupees to build memorials like Rajghat (Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in Delhi) and other institutions in the name of its leaders on sprawling lands acquired in the most prime area of New Delhi; but when I sought to do the same for Ambedkar, leaders of the Congress and Samajwadi Party got together to condemn and criticise me", she told the gathering amid cheers.

She alleged the Congress had never worked for Dalits and only Amedkar was interested in their welfare. "Whatever rights Dalits and backwards had is due to Bhim Rao Ambedkar and there is no contribution of Nehru-Gandhi family," she said.

She alleged that the "Congress and company" had conspired against Ambedkar to prevent him from becoming the member of the Constituent Assembly.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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