Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s massive birthday bash has drawn flak from the opposition which today questioned the “ostentatious” display of wealth and “garish” expenditure running into crores of rupees when the state was grappling with drought situation.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said while his party respects the senior leader and wishes him long life for service to the nation, “it is their responsibility to act by example, to set the example to the whole nation and to the people of the country”.
“That example cannot be of ostentatious display of wealth, of garish expenditure running into hundreds of crores which may obviously be better utilised for the welfare of the poor people of that state reeling under the series of misfortunes.
“So I think we can only request and ensure this is not repeated in the future,” he said in Delhi.
BJP said that the money spent on the celebrations could have been used for the drought-affected districts.
“50 of the 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh have been declared drought-hit and the money could have been distributed among the affected farmers,” BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said yesterday.
However, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh dismissed the criticism saying while people were displaying their “love” for Mulayam, opposition was indulging in petty politics over the issue.
Renowned composer-singer A R Rahman last night performed on the second day of the three-day bash to celebrate the 76th birthday of Mulayam.
Hundreds of welcome gates and huge hoardings have come up on all the roads leading to Mulayam’s native place Saifai, around 200 km from state capital Lucknow. Cakes weighing 76 kg were also cut in various districts by partymen to celebrate birthday of the leader.
But the Samajwadi Party was unfazed by the criticism and also denied allegations of misuse of government exchequer.
“While the entire state is praying for long life of ‘Netaji’ (Mulayam), the opposition is involved in negative publicity. There is no misuse of government machinery or exchequer for AR Rahman concert and other programmes in Saifai,” party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.
“The event was organised by ‘Sri Ranvir Singh Smriti Samaroh Samiti’ for environment conversation. Lakhs of people converged at the event, where their love for Netaji was visible. Opposition should shun petty politics on the matter,” Chowdhury said.