Lucknow: The 14-day Saifai Mahotsava started off late Friday at the native village of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the presence of his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and state ministers.
The festival, which courted a lot of controversy last year because of its extravagance in the light of Muzaffaranagar riot survivors' plight, was inaugurated this year by Jaya Bachchan, the veteran film actress and Rajya Sabha MP of Samajwadi Party (SP).
The event started with an unveiling of Lord Hanuman's statue.
On this occasion, Bachchan said she was delighted to have been given the status of chief guest at the event, but added, in lighter vein, that probably such an honour came her way because she doesn't speak much.
Former chief minister and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in his address said that the Mahotsava was an opportunity for locals to display their talent and provided entertainment to the people residing around Saifai area in Etawah district.
Taking a dig at his son Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that his requests on a certain issue were not being paid heed to by the chief minister.
"I have been requesting the chief minister to call Amitabh Bachchan but he is not listening to me," Mulayam Singh Yadav said, adding if he had made this request to his younger brother and Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, the work would have already been taken care off a long time back.
Over two dozen ministers and senior bureaucrats would put up in Saifai for the next fortnight.