The Election Commission (EC) yesterday said its decision to order covering of UP Chief Minister Mayawati's statues and the BSP poll symbol, the elephant, was not politically motivated.

"It is unfortunate... and the decision was not politically motivated. There was no question of the election body working in pro-Dalit or anti-Dalit manner," said Election Commissioner HS Brahma. He added that the poll panel would issue a formal denial to Mayawati's charges.

Mayawati had lashed out at the poll panel, saying the decision was a reflection of the government's "casteist" mindset. The poll panel had ordered that statues of Mayawati and the elephant be covered till the staggered elections -- from February 8 to March 3 -- are over.