Dividing Uttar-Pradesh: The Opening Of A Pandora’s Box

24/11/2011
Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Vidya Bhushan Rawat


Uttar-Pradesh state assembly in its shortest ever session of eleven minutes only passed a resolution for carving out four states from Uttar-Pradesh. The resolution has now gone to the Central government for their perusal. However, we all know, that this is not going to happen that easily for which our political pundits are making noises and parties going for and against it.

Let me be clear in the very beginning that I have no objection of Ms Mayawati raising the issue for political purposes. In politics you raise the issue in the people’s court and it is up to them how they react. Rajiv Gandhi went for a national poll immediately after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in October 1984 and won with a landslide majority. Gujarat Chief Minister used the same anti Muslim card for his comeback. Ayodhya’s issue raised by Advani and company finally help BJP to take its tally from 2 to 120 in Parliament and converted it to India’s main opposition party. So, political debate in India has stooped so low that we must not expect too much from them.

Now let us examine the issue of division of Uttar-Pradesh. One may ask this question as why should we only divide Uttar-Pradesh and reduce it to nothing. Politically Uttar-Pradesh is an important state for every political party and today, if we are witnessing the assertion among the DAlits and OBC political leadership all over the country, the credit goes to Uttar-Pradesh. In fact, Bihar comes second to Uttar-Pradesh as far as Dalit assertion and political understanding is concern. Today, BSP is the only party based on Ambedkarite principals (whether they work on it or not is not the question here but they claim to follow it), which is in power. In Maharastra, the RPIs failed and that too miserably forcing many of them to even form alliance with Shiv Sena. Can we ever imagine a party formed by Ambedkar and on his principals forming alliance with rabid anti dalit and anti Muslim party like Shiv Sena or MNS? Have we forgotten how Shiv Sena opposed violently the naming of Marathwada University in the name of Baba Saheb Ambedkar in the 1980s?

For us who have seen the danger of majoritarian politics, secular polity of India is thankful to Uttar-Pradesh and Bihar for successfully able to thwart the designs of communal fascist forces in the country. We all know that the Sangh Parivar and its offshoots are completely helpless in Uttar-Pradesh and Bihar at the moment as their hegemony has completely destroyed at least politically. The Dalits, OBCs and Muslims are building alliances and coming close. Uttar-Pradesh is the biggest laboratory for that. The second phase of Mandalisation process has already begun in Uttar-Pradesh. It is the reemergence of MBCs and Maha Dalits or excluded dalits. Nitish Kumar played a card in Bihar to gain from it but fortunately in UP, it is the emergence of these segments and they can play their own politics. So, it is second phase Mandal process where even the Mahadalits, MBCs and Pasamanda Muslims are joining hand for their political participation. With BSP increasingly tilting as Chamar-Brahmin alliance, the excluded Dalits and MBCs have no other option than to form an alliance and look for their future.

In this background comes the news of division of Uttar-Pradesh. There is no proof that smaller states are better governed or bigger states are worst. Why should then we have a huge country which is ungovernable? Should not we say that India is an unmanageable country? But then, every small identity that merges with India also gets benefit of its strength. It happen same to the states.

Question is not whether a state should be big or small. The real question is whether the people in the state want to live together or not. Whether there is a cultural difference or a feeling of isolation by one segment of people or not? We all know when Uttarakhand was created, I protested against it for the fear that the majoritarian upper castes will not allow the Dalits and OBCs to live peacefully. We all know how the condition of Dalits in Uttarakhand where no government till date have been able to spend the SCP meant for SC-STs. The money goes unspent. The job quota is not filled adequately and the social ostracisation of the community is enormous even when there is no physical intimidation in the hills. The conditions in Harit Pradesh or Paschim Pradesh are different. This is the fiefdom of the Jats and Gujjars. The Dalits here are predominantly depended on agricultural work. Ofcourse, they have also grown up but the relationship between them and the upper castes is well known here. In the Bundelkhand region Kurmis, Brahmins and Thakurs dominate. Violence against Dalits particularly the Kol tribal go unreported. The Poorvanchal is the region where BSP remained stronger but that too with the help of ‘poor’ ‘brahmins’ so we can understand how will it help them.

It is equally important to see how the state of Uttar-Pradesh can merge Faizabad, Pratapgarh and Sultanpur in the Poorvanchal State though historically they have been part of Avadh. In fact, before the capital of Avadh moved to Lucknow, Faizabad was its capital. Is not it a travesty of truth? Similarly, Agara, Kanpur and Allahbad should be nearer to Bundelkhand rather than Avadh Pradesh or Pooravanchal Pradesh.

It would have been great if the serious issue had discussion in the beginning so that people are well equipped with knowledge about the act. Secondly, do we hate Uttar-Pradesh that much that we want to eliminate the very name of Uttar-Pradesh itself. Third, why should only Uttar-Pradesh be divided? Why not other big states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar?

It is important to understand the dynamics of our political class. Even when the state can be divided for administrative reasons, let there be a state reorganization commission. There are a lot of unfulfilled agenda of the past. A place like Belgaum creates violence on the issue of Marathi verses Kannada in Karnataka. Why should a Marathi speaking town such as Belgaum be part of Karnataka? Similarly, the issue of Abohar and Fazilka in Punjab became bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana. We all know the issue of Naga areas in Manipur for which the state is still facing the blockade. Jammu and Ladhakh have nothing in common with Kashmir valley and have distinct cultural identity of their own.

India needs small states to govern efficiently. Ofcourse, India needs to increase its size of parliament too. India requires radical changes including that in our parliamentary structure. Problem is not just with the governance of state. Our states or parliament is not really representative of our communities. Despite sizeable presence in Uttar-Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Tharus, one of the most celebrated tribes of our country, have just one member of assembly in Uttarakhand. Communities like Balmikis, Khatiks, Kols, Doms, Nais remain unrepresented. Many of the most marginal communities remain outside the realm of our parliamentary politics. So what will these new state offers to them? Frankly speaking, the new state might reduce the already diminishing Dalit-OBC representation so chances for the most marginalized one would be difficult to come. It needs to change India’s parliamentary system.

If we see the state of Chhatishgarh and Jharkhand, both are Adivasi dominated yet have been dominated by the non adivasis in political leadership. The least said about Jharkhand’s political leadership the best. In one night, Madhu Koda signed more than 300 deals which could never have happened in a state like Bihar. A big state is a challenge for officials as they fear mass protest if the political leadership is sidelined. A state like Uttar-Pradesh is bigger than many countries and therefore the chief minister of the state is respected and is relatively powerful. No official or bureaucrat can take her for granted but all these small states are being run by the coterie of bureaucrats or the chamchas of the political class. The experience shows that they are ruthless in tackling dissent and opposition.

Economically, most of these states are dependent on the Centre for financial support. Creation of new state poses great economic stress. Not only does it need new infrastructure, legislative assemblies, governor’s houses, bungalows etc. Our political class will not live in ordinary areas. In the fifties it was easier for new states to be developed as places like Lucknow, Hyderabad, Madras, Banglore, Thiruvnanathpuram had already had infrastructures for everything. But now the new states will be more burdens to people. Most importantly, in the new state, we will not have new leaders but the same old ones who have been sucking our blood all the time. Example from Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhatishgarh and north east clearly indicate that they have become police state. It is also true that big corporate find is easier to tackle the political leadership in these states easily than in the bigger states.

While, I do not believe in the argument whether smaller states are better or big states are useful. The question should be addressed according to local demands, cultural issues and most importantly economic viabilities of such states. It would be better if Centre comes out with a specific time frame for a State Reorganisation Commission which should look into all aspect such interstate issues such as Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal which cannot be created just out of Uttar-Pradesh but will have to be carved out of Madhya Pradesh too. Lot of issues but if the petty politics takes over then the whole exercise would be too dangerous for the unity of the country. A country like India can accommodate more state and bigger parliament but for that we need serious discussion and a time found agenda and framework of SRC so that we can address the issue in the utmost national interest.

Let the political parties not whip up passion and create a frenzy in the name of ‘small is best’, as it could prove contrary also because at the end the political leadership as well as the working class of each state in India will emerge from ourselves only. Hence , whether it is small or big, at the end of the day, it is we the people of India, who will provide leadership to these states. It is not going to come from anywhere else. There is no denial of fact that people today aspire for more decentralized power structure but at the same point of time, also look for safe guards of communities who have never got representation. So, India need a reorganization of not only its state, but its political system in entirety otherwise, these so called new states or small state will have the same elite dominating with much bigger brutality over minorities as they have been in the past. The issue of creation of states have to be based on demands of people and should not be imposed by the political leadership from the above. An empowered State Reorganisation Commission should be asked to look into it and till then we can make a moratorium on the issue, except the already decided issue of Telangana which need to be created based on popular demands of the people of the region. Denying that in the name of unity and integrity of Greater Telangana will be an injustice to the entire struggle of the people. Such generalization can damage the cause of unity of people. Uttar-Pradesh government’s issue is different as there is neither a mass movement nor a public revolt for creating so many states out of Uttar-Pradesh. Ofcourse, it is good that Ms Mayawati has given it a serious thought but it is equally important that the issue be debated widely and should not be resolved without a State Reorganisation Commission as the stake holders are not just in Uttar-Pradesh but also in other states.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a human rights activist

http://www.facebook.com/notes/vidya-bhushan-rawat/how-feasible-is-dividing-uttar-pradesh/10150384731038883


Splitting UP not a bad idea

18/11/2011

Mayawati is PM, Rahul is novice in eyes of Baba Ramdev

18/11/2011

Hostel to be ready by Nov 30

08/11/2011

NOIDA: The Noida Authority is fast rushing towards completion of another dream project of chief minister Mayawati – the Rs 40 crore Dr Ambedkar SC/ST hostel. Meant exclusively for working women and girl students belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, the hostel is expected to be ready for use by November 30. The Authority has invited applications from interested candidates that need to be submitted by November 20.

Construction of the SC/ST hostel is nearly complete and the Authority has asked the construction agency, Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam, to wrap up all finishing work before the month end. Located in sector 62, this first-of-its-kind hostel boasts of infrastructure and facilities “matching those of any renowned private college hostels.”

The six-storey hostel complex has a capacity to accommodate 500 people. “With 200 double and 100 single occupancy rooms, the Ambedkar hostel is also equipped with security measures including CCTV cameras, round the clock surveillance by a fleet of security guards, etc to ensure safety of all inmates,” said Noida Authority DCEO Anil Raj Kumar. The eligibility for getting a hostel seat have already been advertised by the state government and admission procedure for selected candidates will begin from November 20. The state of the art hostel will provide accommodation to needy women at subsidized costs. The list of selected candidates will be finalized by the Greater Noida Education Committee.

The proposal for the hostel was first made in January 2009 on Mayawati’s 53rd birthday along with a host of other projects totalling Rs 3,500 crore. Construction of the girls’ hostel began in March 2009 and was supposed to be completed within a year. However, due to technical glitches in the original architectural plan, the project got delayed and construction was finally completed earlier this month. Another such hostel meant for male SC/ST students and working professionals is being readied in Greater Noida.


“Statues of liberty” – Shobhaa De

05/11/2011
SHOBHAA.JPG

Shobhaa De

I swear I am not joking. After a vroom vroom visit to Mayaland to watch India’s virgin Formula One at the world-class Buddh International Circuit (BIC), I am ready to personally carve a brand new, larger-than-lifesize statue of Mayawati and erect it at a prominent junction in Mumbai. That lady is something else!

Ms Mayawati is my babe-of-the-moment. After pulling off that coup (F1), Ms Mayawati’s stock has zoomed at a speed faster than Sebastian Vettel’s mean machine could rev up. Suddenly, all those snotty F1 fans from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities have had to suck in their breaths and say, “Wow! How did she do it? How?” Mind you, no matter who else was involved (yes, Shri Jaiprakash Gaur, we know it’s you!), it was Ms Mayawati who walked away with all the credit. And hello! Nobody wants to get into the nitty-gritty. A few legal eagles, in on the myriad contracts, whispered not everything was all that kosher and that there were several wheels within wheels and deals within deals, with a whole lot of “black in the lentils”. Does anybody really care? Naah! With stories galore about Ms Mayawati’s family members allegedly getting pretty juicy prime cuts on virtually every brick and bag of cement used, nobody blinked or minded. The reaction has been cool and blasé. “Let them also make money, yaar. But at least India delivered big time for a change. Look at what happened with Commonwealth Games. Paisa khaaya aur kuch bhi nahin kiya. It was such a disgrace.” Point.

We are very sweet and considerate that way. We expect our leaders to keep their family members khush. It’s a given. If Asif Ali Zardari was known in Pakistan as Mr 10 Per Cent, Ms Mayawati’s gang falls into the Messrs 30 Per Cent. Janey do. At least Ms Mayawati fixed the Doubting Thomases who had predicted she’d fall flat on her face with the F1. Advantage Behenji. As anybody who made a pit stop at the Buddh Circuit will readily confirm, this was an absolute coup. And the response (even from sceptics) has been an unconditional thumbs up. Let’s not get ethics and values into the picture. Nor the staggering cost of getting the track and infrastructure off the ground. Point is, Buddh took fans by surprise. But more importantly, it took the motor-racing world’s breath away.
The most interesting aspect of attending the historic Indian F1 was the long drive to the distant venue. A drive that took people past the famous `3,000 crore park with “those” statues that have generated so much criticism and scorn. I passed the park four times. At one point our car was stuck right opposite the notorious elephants, lining the gigantic Dalit Prerna Hall. The first reaction to the elephants and the imposing Stupa-style structure was very positive. The design was pleasing, aesthetic and wonderfully conceived. What had I expected? I’ll be candid and tell you — I had imagined the much-discussed park to be a totally hideous complex crammed with ugly statues. Instead, what I saw was a magnificent ground dotted with handsome monuments made out of local stone and built in a holistic style devoid of any ostentation. Ms Mayawati certainly got this right, as well! As to why she is “wasting” so much money on those statues. Because she is smart! She has vision. What she has cleverly invested in (the park) reflects the aspirations and hopes of dalits. It’s a beautiful space dalits can finally call their own. A space they have never had. Never! A space that provides a strong sense of identity… that they can feel proud of. Intuitively and instinctively, Ms Mayawati must have known that if she wants to leave behind a worthwhile, memorable legacy for future generations to enjoy, it had to be on this scale and on these terms. Good for her.

When one looks around India (a country obsessed by symbols of power in the form of statues), whose figures do we see? Here’s a rough checklist: topping it is, of course, Mahatma Gandhi. Followed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji, Shivaji and the odd Maharaja. You may find a Jhansi Ki Rani, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. B.R. Ambedkar stands tall in more and more cities these days. Then on to countless Indira and Rajiv Gandhi representations. Nearly every important, modern landmark is named after one or the other member of the Gandhi family — the mother, son or grandfather. Airports and other public buildings are all taken by the trio. What about Mumbai’s Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, which should have legitimately been named after Ambedkar, who was born in Worli, where it is located… but wasn’t? What about the acres and acres of land in Delhi devoted to various “sthals”? How come nobody finds all of this “wasteful, extravagant, meaningless”?

Ms Mayawati is no fool. It is all about those numbers. She is looking ahead at the big picture, and what she’s seeing is obviously good. She is not waiting for anyone to erect her statues… she’s doing the job herself. She is shrewd enough to realise the power of the statue-politics. The more you erect, the stronger the positioning. Why wait till you are dead and gone for followers to get those statues up?

Ms Mayawati is assiduously building her own personality cult. Let’s just hope her statues don’t suffer the same fate as those of others who did the same. Till then, let her bask in her international fame, posing with the handsome and young F1 champions. She’s finally in the fast track… who can stop her now?

Readers can send feedback to http://www.shobhaade.blogspot.com


Mayawati’s statues of liberty

05/11/2011

The UP chief minister has been on a memorial-building spree for eight years now, the last being the recently inaugurated park in Noida. Are they the indulgence of a megalomaniac or do they serve a purpose?

Diwakar Tripathi, former chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority, remembers the day vividly. It was January 15, 2003, a cold but sunny day. Mayawati, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had inaugurated the Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal, a memorial for the Dalit leader and architect of the Indian Constitution spread over 125 acres on the banks of the Gomti. The function had gone off well, and Tripathi and his colleagues were unwinding at the park. All of a sudden, there was a great uproar from the gates. The crowds, held back by the police, broke through the barricades and rushed in. Many of them, Tripathi remembers, took off their clothes, shouted Jai Bhim (victory to Bhimrao Ambedkar) and jumped into the canal around their leader’s statue — just like high-caste Hindus who cleanse their bodies of sin by bathing in the Ganga at Haridwar or Banaras. Some of them had come with their lota, the inimitable Indian personal pot, and filled it in the canal. Some washed the statue’s feet with the water, while others took the “holy” water home. Tripathi knew in an instant that the memorial would trigger social change — the meek and the voiceless finally had a place of pilgrimage.

The park has got several makeovers since then and the canal has been covered. Mayawati has built many more such parks and museums. The latest of these is the Rashtriya Dalit Smarak at Noida near Delhi. Spread on 33.45 acres on the banks of the Yamuna, it has cost the state Rs 685 crore. There are 24 elephants (the election symbol of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party) in pink sandstone. And there are 12 statues of Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati. Each elephant has cost Rs 70 lakh, while the statues cost over Rs 6 crore apiece. No fewer than 2,500 masons and workers were employed here.

It was a park before the state government decided to convert it into a Dalit memorial. Residents of Noida were horrified when the trees at the park were cut to make way for the memorial. Mayawati’s government did a midcourse correction and planted 7,600 trees and 150,000 shrubs there.

It was inaugurated by Mayawati on October 14, days before she gave away the prizes at the first Formula One Indian Grand Prix at Greater Noida on October 30. The park was supposed to open for all on November 1. A security guard posted on the gate tells you that it’s still closed because “some construction is still left and workers have to clean up the place”. He asks you to wait till “the next order”.

* * * * *

Mayawati has drawn severe criticism for these parks. The money (over Rs 4,500 crore) could have been spent, her critics say, on laying roads, building schools and hospitals, and generating power — all sectors where Uttar Pradesh lags the national average. Epidemics happen with alarming regularity in the eastern districts of the state. No new investments have happened in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to the state of its infrastructure.

For Mayawati’s detractors, the parks, and the statues inside, are nothing but unproductive assets, the indulgence of a megalomaniac. Mayawati’s bureaucrats say that the stone used in these parks has been sourced from the districts of Sonbhadra and Chandauli. These districts, which are located on the border with Madhya Pradesh, could have come under Naxal influence had it not been for this economic activity. The economy that takes shape around these parks is not insignificant, and the biggest beneficiaries are masons, artisans and workers who are, more often than not, from the Dalit community.

The bigger impact is perhaps social and political. Why just parks, Mayawati has renamed districts after Dalit icons like Jyotiba Phule and Gautam Buddh (Ambedkar had renounced Hinduism to embrace Buddhism). Social scientists and Dalit activists see her grand design. Sociologist Shiv Viisvanathan says that Mayawati realises that the Dalit community needs to create an alternate idea of history — one that cannot be easily erased. And she has done just that in her parks.

Vivek Kumar, assistant professor of sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, feels that the Dalit community has reason to feel empowered now. “That is the impact the parks will have. For years, they were told not to go to or enter certain places. Now they have something of their own,” says he.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra finds distasteful the whole talk of taxpayers’ money being misused in these memorials because “the parks and the museums at the end of the day are for the citizens”. The controversy, he says, often hides the good work the Mayawati government has done in the last four years: Uttar Pradesh is one of the few revenue-surplus states in the country, its public debt has come down from 42.7 per cent of the gross state domestic product in 2007-08 to 38 per cent in 2010-11, its fiscal deficit for 2010-11 was a healthy 2.7 per cent of GSDP, it has utilised over 95 per cent of the Plan expenditure in each of the last four years, and it has taken short-term loans from the Reserve Bank of India for all of 16 days in the last four years.

* * * * *

But has the Dalit community really gained under Mayawati? A recent study by Devesh Kapur of the Centre for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) in the University of Pennsylvania, along with Chandra Bhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett and D Shyam Babu, done in 20,000 Dalit households of Uttar Pradesh found that there has been a significant improvement in their socio-economic condition between 1990 and 2008. Thus, they were found to (1) live in better houses, (2) eat better food, and (3) own more consumer goods. The material markers, says Prasad, have overtaken the social markers in rural India. The study also showed that there has been a sharp fall in the number of Dalits working as farm labour, while there has been a perceptible rise in the number of Dalits running businesses. The period covered in the study is also the age of economic reform; so it’s not certain if the change has been brought about by the free market forces or as a result of the intervention from the state government.

In the last four years, Mayawati has done a lot to keep Dalits happy. She has raised the development expenditure on the Schedule Castes and Tribes from 17.9 per cent of the total in 2007-08 to 21.7 per cent in 2010-11. It now matches their population of 21.2 per cent in the state. In the last four years, each of the 2,500 Ambedkar villages (those where Schedule Castes and Tribes are a majority) has received Rs 2 crore for public works. The plan is to cover another 2,500 villages in the second phase. For 2.2 million ultra-poor families (not just the Schedule Castes and Tribes), a pension of Rs 400 per month, payable to the lady of the house, has been instituted. There are liberal financial grants for the girl child in poor households. About 150,000 houses (two rooms, kitchen and bathroom) have been distributed to the urban poor free of cost. And, Uttar Pradesh has in the last four years appointed 88,000 teachers (28,000 in madrasas), over 100,000 safai karmacharis (sweepers) and 35,000 policemen over and above the normal recruitment. This has swollen the state’s rolls by almost 15 per cent to 1.5 million. As the Schedule Castes and Tribes are also often the poorest in villages as well as cities, it is reasonable to assume they have benefitted the most from this largesse.

The debate on whether the parks are wasteful expenditure or not will continue for a long time. But then Lucknow had discovered the benefits of public works to revive a stagnant economy much before Keynes. Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Oudh from 1775 to 1797, built all the magnificent Lucknow buildings during a severe famine, which gave employment to thousands from the villages around the city. Till date, in Lucknow, those ignored by fate often console themselves and say: “Jisko na de Maula, usko de Asaf-ud-Daula (those ignored by God are taken care of by Asaf-ud-Daula).” Does a similar legacy await Mayawati?

(Virendra Singh Rawat contributed to this article from Lucknow)

http://business-standard.com/india/news/mayawatis-statuesliberty/454557/


Mayawati launches projects worth Rs. 6,035 crore

29/10/2011

 

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati offering gifts to monks on the fifth death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram at the Kanshi Ram Smarak Sthal in Lucknow on Sunday.
PTIUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati offering gifts to monks on the fifth death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshi Ram at the Kanshi Ram Smarak Sthal in Lucknow on Sunday.

These relate to power supply, housing, technical education, among others

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati laid the foundation for 484 projects worth Rs. 6,035 crore on the occasion of the fifth death anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram on Sunday.

The main function was held at the imposing Kanshi Ram memorial. The projects are related to power supply, housing for the urban poor, technical education, water supply and solid waste management.

Ms. Mayawati unfurled five power transmission centres built at a cost of Rs. 135 crore in different parts of the State and 42 sub-stations of 33/11 KV built at a cost of Rs.. 99.70 crore.

Power projects

The Chief Minister laid the foundation for power projects of over Rs. 2,000 crore. the total worth of the schemes and projects pertaining to water supply, sewerage and waste disposal was Rs. 2,104 crore.

Before unveiling the different schemes, floral tributes were paid to the BSP’s founder by Ms. Mayawati, Rajya Sabha MP Satish Chandra Mishra and senior government officials, including Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra. Buddhist monks were present.

The Chief Minister did not address a gathering of BSP supporters and left after unveiling the projects, but the memorial was thrown open to the assemblage after her departure.

A press release issued by the State Information and Public Relations Department later said that on the directive of the Chief Minister the memorial sites and monuments would remain open to the public from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer (March to October) and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during winter (November to February).

Before arriving at the memorial, Ms. Mayawati visited the Prerna Sthal where the BSP founder’s ashes have been kept.

The central hall of the memorial houses 18-foot high bronze statues of Kanshi Ram and Ms. Mayawati and six large murals on the BSP founder.

The central dome (cupola) has a height of 54 metres.