The controversy over Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati converting the 13-A Mall Avenue bungalow into a memorial for Dalit icon Kanshi Ram continued on Monday with the BJP raising doubts over it, saying the public has not been allowed to visit it till now.
BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra, however, refuted the allegation and said that the memorial was open for public but only after proper security checks.
His rebuttal came after BJP spokesman Manish Shukla said, “No one prior to June 2, when the BSP chief announced that she was vacating the bungalow, was allowed to visit the ‘Sri Kanshi Ram Ji Yadgar Vishram Sthal’.”
“If 13-A Mall Avenue was ‘Sri Kanshi Ram Ji Yadgar Vishram Sthal’ and it was a museum in the name of Kanshi Ram, why were the common people not allowed entry... people are allowed entry into (other) museums either through ticket or for free,” Mr. Shukla pointed out.
“The manner in which Mayawati took media persons on a guided tour of the bungalow that day (June 2)... did it ever happen before? Even the media persons who were invited for press conferences there used to be earlier confined to an open place and were not allowed to move around,” the BJP spokesperson stressed.
Mr. Misra said the BJP’s contention was “far from truth”.
“People were allowed to visit the campus but after proper security check... it was only the small portion (of the property) that was occupied by the party supremo where entry was restricted,” he said.
The BSP chief has moved out of the premises with all her belongings and the bungalow has been handed over to the state’s Estates Department, Misra said.
On Saturday, the BSP president had said she was “vacating” the portion of the 13-A Mall Avenue bungalow which her party has already declared as the memorial in the name of founder Kanshi Ram.