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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014
Saifai Mahotsav: insult to people and a waste of taxpayers’ money
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 09, 2014
First Published: 23:17 IST(9/1/2014)
Last Updated: 02:21 IST(10/1/2014)

If a big song and dance is being made out of this particular song and dance function, then it is with very good reason. The Uttar Pradesh government in its infinite wisdom saw it fit to invite Bollywood stars and starlets to grace the Saifai Mahotsav, a cultural highlight in the state and held in the stomping ground of Samajwadi Party (SP) uber neta Mulayam Singh Yadav.

His son Akhilesh Yadav was in attendance as SP dignitaries and the who’s who of UP beamed at the shimmies and shakes on the stage.

Those who feel that the film stars were being insensitive to the plight of the Muzaffarnagar riot victims may be right, but the Bollywood brigade was doing nothing more than shaking a leg for a price. The real culprits are the SP bigwigs who saw nothing wrong in holding such festivities even as children are dying of the cold in the relief camps.

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The money spent on this jamboree could have been better spent on trying to rehabilitate those in the camps. It is no one’s case that people should not enjoy entertainment but it is another for the state to fritter away money on this when people are suffering so much. In addition, a high-level delegation of SP dignitaries is off and away on a study tour of several foreign countries despite public outrage at such an extravaganza. What exactly does anyone gain from these study tours?

They range from things as vague as studying democratic institutions to examining road transport. Such jaunts have on occasion even included wine-tasting sessions. In short, they are nothing more than holidays paid by the people for representatives who add no value to their lives. In most such tours, not even the fig leaf of an official meeting is proffered.

Mulayam Singh Yadav is meant to be an astute politician. Yet, he felt it was perfectly all right to be seen enjoying a show at a time when he has not even once visited the riot relief camps. This suggests a serious disconnect with the people at best and a complete disregard for public sensitivities at worst. Either way, there will be a price to be paid electorally.

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The system of sending MPs and MLAs on study tours needs to be shelved as far as possible. If any tour is undertaken, a comprehensive report must be submitted as well as an action taken report, all of which should be in the public domain. The trend in politics today is that of people refusing to accept that the leaders can live by different rules. It is something that politicians can ignore only at their own cost.


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