Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, who turned 56 on Sunday, made a frontal attack on Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, blaming him for covering her statues "under guidance from the caste-prejudiced" Congress-led UPA central government.

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The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief is celebrating her birthday at the state party headquarters here, in keeping with the model code of conduct in the poll-bound state.

Mayawati announced tickets for candidates in Uttar Pradesh's 403 seats including 88 from Scheduled Castes, 113 from Other Backward Classes, 85 from minorities (including Muslims) and 117 from upper castes including 74 Brahmins.


In a veiled attack on Election Commission, the Chief Minister said its order to cover statues of BSP's poll symbol 'elephant' and those of her own was "one-sided, wrong and an insult" of party founder Kashiram's will.

"Statues of elephant were installed as per the Indian culture and not because of being the BSP symbol. These statues have been installed to welcome the visitors," she claimed.
   
She alleged that in the past, statues of elephant were installed at a number of places in the country with money coming from the state exchequer. "Similarly, the poll symbol of Congress and BJP were associated with religious beliefs of the people," she alleged.    

Mayawati is also to release the seventh volume of her autobiography with the latest account of her achievements at the event.

The poll panel had ordered that Mayawati's statues and the BSP party symbol, the elephant, be covered till the staggered elections from Feb 8 to March 4 are over.

Mayawati said, "Considering this fact the EC should have taken a right decision about statues of elephant installed by her government at memorials and parks."
   
She said that while directing to cover her statues, the EC has given logic that as they were erected with money from government funds, it would make an impact on the electorate.
   
"In case if a person erects my statue from his own expenditure it will not make any impact on the voters from the EC's point of view. People of my party and others are unable to swallow the logic," she said.

Mayawati said that her party was of the view that statue of any person installed during lifetime or after death, from government or private expenditure would make a similar impact on the electorate during polls.
   
She said that despite the feelings of her party, her government complied with the EC order.

The BSP chief said that following its constitutional responsibility with honesty and dedication, the EC should have issued directives to get Congress' poll symbol 'hand' and
RLD's symbol 'handpump' covered like the statues of elephant.
   
"If the EC does not take right decisions regarding symbols of these two parties, then the people will consider this decision (with regard to BSP) taken with an anti-dalit and casteist mentality and under pressure of the Congress-led government at the Centre," she claimed.
       
"A written reply with correct facts has been sent to the EC. Under these circumstances, I request the EC to ensure free and fair elections in the state and it should not succumb to pressure from Congress or any other party," she said.

Mayawati said that in reality as per the will of Kanshiram, her party set up Bahujan Prerna Sthal in Lucknow and Delhi during his lifetime and installed her statues along with that of his.
   
"Opposition parties are insulting the will of Kanshiram by floating stories," she alleged.
   
She alleged that similar insult was done by the Congress government at the Centre and the previous Samajwadi government by not declaring national and official condolence after the death of Kanshiram.
   
"People of the party will never forget this," she said. She said the EC decision has turned "profitable" for her party as it galvanised its cadre to make efforts to ensure victory of BSP candidates.
   
"The manner in which the statues of elephants and my own were publicised, it resulted in a massive publicity of my party and the poll symbol," she said.
     
"Specially this publicity was done free of cost without any hindrance with the Model Code of Conduct in place. Otherwise, the party had to spend several crore of rupees on publicity through channels and newspapers. I express hearty gratitude to opposition parties for this," she said.
   
Mayawati said that she had full confidence that her party people would give better results than that of the previous time and expressed confidence of forming the next government with majority.
   
(Agencies)