On the other hand, Congress party underplayed the controversy, taking care not to annoy its key ally.
"Election Commission has issued a notice to Mulayam. I am sure he will respond to it appropriately. It is between Mulayam and the Election Commission and leave it between the two of them," said Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari.
The Election Commission has asked Mulayam to explain by Saturday, Mar 14 why wads of notes were distributed during the Holi celebrations at his Saifai village in Etawah district on Wednesday in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission said the "act of bribing a large number of persons in a public gathering is clear violation of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.