Noida (UP): Under attack over the controversial Rs 685-crore Dalit memorial, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday hit out at Congress saying it had no right to criticise when it has raised so many memorials for the Nehru-Gandhi family across the Yamuna bank in Delhi.

She also attacked Congress and BJP for "ignoring" dalit icons B R Ambedkar and BSP founder Kanshi Ram.

"In Delhi, central government has constructed various memorials on the western bank of Yamuna to honour people like Nehru and Gandhi, but not a single one has been built for dalit icons like Bhim Rao Ambedkar and founder of BSP Kanshi Ram," Mayawati said.

The chief minister inaugurated a 36-acre park here which houses memorials of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram besides statues of herself and of 20 elephants, the BSP symbol each costing Rs 70 lakh.

The construction of the park had come under attack from political parties and conservationists who had approached the Supreme Court alleging destruction of green belt along the Okhla Bird sanctuary. The court initially stayed construction but later lifted it.

Justifying the Rastriya Dalit Prerna Sthal and Green Garden project, Mayawati said, "We always felt the need to have a memorial dedicated to the icons of Dalit community and this is one such for the benefit of dalits living around the national capital region including western Uttar Pradesh."

The sentiments of people from Dalit community were badly hurt due to central government's attitude of "ignoring" the works of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram, she said.

Congress may make Meira or Shinde PM


Mayawati said Congress might make either Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar or Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde the Prime Minister to split the Dalit vote ahead of the UP assembly polls.

"Congress is trying to split the Dalit vote but they are unable to do anything. The party, despite Babu Jagjivan Ram being the right candidate for the Prime Minister, did not make
him...

"Afraid of BSP's mass base, Congress may make either Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar or Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde as Prime Minister before the Assembly elections," she said inaugurating the controversial Dalit icon park.

She also alleged the Centre was not providing the state's share from the central fund.

"Between 2007-08 to 2010-11, a total of Rs 21,385 crore is due with the central government, due to which many projects are stalled," Mayawati said, adding "even a special package demanded by me has been turned down by the Centre".

In 2007 UP assembly elections, Mayawati single handedly won the politically key state. The UP Chief Minister has never made secret of her ambition to become the first dalit Prime Minister.

Congress slams Maya for 'wasting public money'

Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday charged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati with “wasting public money on grandiose projects' instead of providing basic needs like health, education and irrigation to the people.”

“The BSP government has been spending public money on non-essential things when the state has worst indices of infant mortality and education,” Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
 
“It is evident there is a sense of outrage among the people of UP against the developmental priorities of Chief Minister Mayawati.”

Tewari said the litmus test of the Bahujan Samaj Party government will be held in April-May 2012 when the assembly elections are held.

“That would be the time to take a call on how popular or unpopular the Mayawati government is,” said Tewari.

“I think the people of UP are wise enough to look at such misuse of public money.”

The Congress Spokesperson said the party will make misuse of public money an issue in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

People will give befitting reply for splurge: BJP


Meanwhile, BJP on Friday criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for the "multi-crore splurge" in the name of parks and said the people of the state will give a befitting reply to her in coming assembly polls for alleged misuse of public money.

"In democracy, if you say that you can spend the money as per your wishes, the people of the country will certainly raise their voice somewhere. I think the people of the state will surely give a befitting reply to Mayawati in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh polls," said BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

He alleged the way Rs 650 crore splurge is being done, it

"We still wonder how it happened. At the end of the day it is public money. The Government has lost all accountability", he added.

(JPN/Agencies)