Cong flays SP over Mulayam's b'day bash

The Congress on Sunday said that the money spent on Mulayam Singh Yadav's 76th birthday party could have been utilised for the welfare of people.

New Delhi: Criticising Samajwadi Party for spending crores of rupees on a three-day cultural extravaganza to celebrate the 76th birthday of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Congress on Sunday said the money spent could have been utilised for the welfare of the people.

Asked about the event, 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.

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. The indoor athletic stadium, where the main function will be held, has been decked out in the SP colours of green and red.

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. For security arrangements, about 3,000 personnel from 15 districts have been deployed.

Last year, Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan had organised two-day long celebrations in Rampur to mark Mulayam's 75th birthday.

Mulayam had rode an imported Victorian-style 'buggy' and around 40 ministers had gathered for his birthday bash, fuelling criticism that was met with a caustic response from Khan that Taliban and Dawood Ibrahim provided funds for the event.

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