Mayawati celebrates 52nd birthday in style

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Lucknow, Jan 15 (UNI) Amid criticism of extravagance by the opposition political parties, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati today celebrated her 52nd birthday with pomp and show.

Adorning a shimmery light rust coloured Benarasi salwar suit and diamond jewellery, Ms Mayawati cut a round cake with officials and BSP leaders singing 'Happy Birthday'.

Later, all the officials and BSP leaders, including Nasimuddin Siddique and Swami Prasad Maurya offered cake to the CM. All senior officials including the chief secretary, cabinet secretary, DGP and principal secretary (home) also offered cake to Ms Mayawati.

A free for all situation arose for some time during the cake cutting ceremony at the official residence when senior officials including the DGP had to intervene to control the lensmen who had surrounded the CM.

Meanwhile, the CM informed that United Progressive Alliance(UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohand Singh have greeted her on the occasion.

''While Ms Gandhi telephoned me at 0900 hrs, the PM phoned from China,'' she said.

Later, while addressing the gathering, she thanked the people for their greetings.

She, however, criticised a section of media and opposition parties for making hue and cry over her birthday celebrations, maintaining that the ''anti-Dalit'' attitude of the society was the reason for such an attitude.

Ms Mayawati contradicted that any government funds were spent on the birthday celebrations and even claimed that the lighting and decorations made in the state capital were done by the party itself.

She also showed the payment of electricity, hoarding bills made by party for the birthday celebrations.

The cake was also sponsored by BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, she said.

Meanwhile, the Lucknow police today made elaborate security arrangements to prevent any protest by the opposition parties.

Prominent SP leaders including Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shiv Pal Singh Yadav were not allowed to come out of their houses by the police.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister left for New Delhi this afternoon to celebrate the occasion with national leaders there.

Cakes were cut in all the 403 assembly constituencies where BSP workers informed people about the achievements of the Mayawati government. Cassettes and CDs of the achievements of the government were also distributed free of cost.

A 52-kg cake was cut in the Lucknow (east) constituency followed by a community feast.

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