Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Lucknow: Even as thousands of people continue to suffer due to lack of proper arrangements by the Uttar Pradesh government to fight chilling cold, the ruling Samajwadi Party continues to party in Saifai, the ancestral village of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Bollywood superstars like Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhat, Sara Khan and Soha Ali Khan performed in the annual Saifai Mahotsav on Wednesday.
Besides, the Bollywood big wigs, two dozen other TV actors, comedians also performed at Saifai, which has become a major attraction for the people of the region including Etawah, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Shikohabad and Agra.
It is organised every year in memory of a late nephew of Mulayam Singh Yadav and is attended by film stars, politicians, corporate honchos, ministers and officials.
Last year, Hrithik Roshan performed at the event.
All this comes at a time when the SP leadership has come under attack over holding the annual Safai Mahotsav at a time when hundreds of victims of Muzaffarnagar riots were living in difficult circumstances in relief camps and others are suffering due to extreme weather conditions.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, however, defended the two-week long "Saifai Mahotsav" that commenced on December 26, calling it a Samajwadi tradition and said he is well aware that the event will come under the scanner of the media.
"I know you have not come here to cover the festival, but instead you have come here to show in one window that people are suffering in the camps and on the other, you will show the festivities," the Samajwadi Party (SP) leader told reporters at Safai in Etawah district, about 250 km from Lucknow.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh condemned the staging of the event and slammed the SP government for "demolishing few relief camps" meant for the riot victims of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma was among others who attacked the SP leadership over the annual event. "While children are dying daily in these relief camps, Yadav is organising Saifai Mahotsav and programmes by dancers from foreign countries. He should immediately postpone Saifai Mahotsava.
Akhilesh is making fun while children are dying. The curse of these children will finish him," Verma, who has been always critical of the Yadav family," Verma said.
Interestingly, the Samajwadi Party government today sent a delegation of MLAs from Uttar Pradesh on a government-sponsored international study tour.
This comes after Karnataka government sent its MLAs on a similar tour abroad.
Over 20 MLAs left early morning on a tour, which covers five countries in 20 days, as per reports. The MLAs will travel to Turkey, Greece, UK, UAE and Netherlands.
The delegation consists of current and former MLAs. The trip comes even as questions are being raised on how the state can afford such a trip while the state hasn`t done enough for the Muzaffarnagar riot victims.
The tour is led by Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. "It`s a study tour. You said it yourself. Shouldn`t leaders go out and study," Azam Khan said.