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IGNORING criticism from all quarters for celebrating the Saifai Mahotsav at a time when hundreds of refugee families are suffering in Muzaffarnagar, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday night ensured that the event's grand finale became a memorable occasion not only for the residents of their ancestral village but also for the high- profile performers from Bollywood.

Over two dozen artistes, including Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit, performed on the stage on last day of the fortnight- long gala, and tried their best to oblige everyone by dancing on popular Hindi songs.

Although the state government taken every care to hide the payments made to these stars for their performances, the chief minister couldn't resist opening the public coffer as soon as he was informed about the soon- to- bereleased movie Dedh Ishqiya of Madhuri Dixit. Akhilesh announced ` 1 crore for the film as major portion has been shot in Saif Ali Khan- starrer Bullett Raja was also given an equal amount for the same reason.

The Yadav family, which is known for its special liking for the Bollywood stars, appeared enthusiastic at the event. The young himself was camping in Saifai since Tuesday to supervise the day's events and to welcome every artiste who landed at the airstrip of his village. The villagers danced whole night with their favourite stars and returned home with a promise from SP's Badaun MP Dharmedra Yadav similar programmes would organised on a much bigger scale next year. HUGE hoardings were erected in Etawah district to welcome the performers, and fullpage advertisements with the pictures of Mulayam, Akhilesh, Dharmendra Yadav, PWD minister Shivpal Singh Yadav and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav were displayed in local newspapers.

Welcome to the guest from the industry. Many artistes including Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan will be the guests in Mahotsav," the advertisement announced.

Sources claimed that the music system and light arrangements at event were worth ` 2 crore.

About 100 artists of a Mumbaibased company had worked day night for over a week to prepare the stage. " At least ` 200 crore spent on organising this 14- programme," said a senior officer on the condition of anonymity.

Further, 36 CCTV cameras were installed and a special control room was set up to keep a close on the grand event.

Slamming the SP government, state president Laxmikant Bajpai dubbed the programme as filthy display to money power" the cost of development of the state, that too when " more than 50,000 riots victims of Muzaffarnagar" are suffering.

SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, however, said, " The presence of Mulayam, Akhilesh, Shivpal and Ramgopal Yadav in these programmes is proof of their active participation in public life."

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 9, 2014
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