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Akhilesh blames media for Saifai brouhaha

‘I demand an apology from a section of media which said that Rs 300 crore were spent on Saifai Mahotsav while on the contrary there was hardly the expenditure of Rs 10 crore on the entire show of 14 days,’ a visibly angry Akhilesh told the reporters at a hurriedly-called press conference at his official residence on Friday afternoon.

An unusually aggressive UP chief minister said that the state government had contributed just Rs one crore to the Saifai Mahotsav budget and other resources were managed by local organising  committee. ‘This was clearly a conspiracy against Samajwadi Party government and media had to play its role in this,’ he fumed.

Yadav went to an extent demanding apology from a section of media and asked to give details of Rs 300 crore as claimed to had been spent on the extravaganza.

Akhilesh was particularly annoyed at the uncomfortable questions posed at the Bollywood stars who performed at the Saifai Mahotsav. ‘I am here to reply to your queries and stars  have no business to talk about Muzaffarnagar riots or their victims,’ he said.

In fact, the entire opposition and the media had been criticising the SP government for the lavish spend on Saifai Mahotsav at the time when the Muzaffarnagar riot victims are languishing in the relief camps. Yadav said that the Saifai Mahotsav was being organised for the last several years with a purpose to promote the local talent and boost the tourism. The budgetary provisions for this festival was made in the legislature and nothing more was ever spent on it, he added.

Meanwhile, the state government on Friday cancelled the premier of Madhuri Dixit-starrer Dedh Ishqiya in Lucknow on Friday afternoon which was to be attended by chief minister himself.
It may be recalled that major portions of Dedh Ishqiya were shot in the state and the state government had announced Rs one crore as an incentive to film maker beside exempting entertainment tax of the movie in the state.

The main criticism for annual Saifai Mahotsav in Etawah district of the state came over the involvement of Bollywood stars. On the concluding day on 8 January, the stars like Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan and Malika Sherawat had performed in the presence of SP prseident Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

On other controversy over study tour of UP ministers and legislators to European countries, Akhilesh said it was a commonwealth parliamentary delegation approved by the central government. ‘Such tours take place in the democratic and parliamentary set up and is no big deal,’ he pointed out.

Jaya Prada slams UP govt over Saifai

Shirdi: Actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada on Friday hit out at the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav over the controversial Saifai Mahotsav. Speaking to reporters here after visiting the Saibaba shrine, Jaya Prada, a former Samajwadi Party leader, said that while common people were suffering under the intense cold spell in the state, the party leaders were enjoying the cultural extravaganza ‘by putting on room heaters’.
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