Rampur (UP), Nov 23: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav celebrated his 75th birthday by cutting a 75-foot -long cake at midnight at a grand event.
Mulayam, who was wished among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Governor Ram Naik, attended a grand ceremony on Jauhar University premises and laid the foundation of a medical college on the occasion. [Mulayam's birthday celebrations 'marred' as stampede kills 1 woman in Badaun]
The SP chief who arrived here yesterday, along with his chief minister son Akhilesh and around 40 Uttar Pradesh ministers, to attend the two-day mega celebrations, said, "I have never received such a grand welcome in my life which (UP minister) Azam Khan and his brigade have accorded to me."
The "extravagant" celebrations, however, drew flak from several quarters with many questioning the source of funds. The criticism was met with a sarcastic response from Azam Khan that Taliban and Dawood Ibrahim provided funds for the event, which fuelled a controversy.
"Why does it matter where the money for celebrations is coming from? Some have come from Taliban, some from Abu Salem, some from Dawood (Ibrahim), some from terrorists...," Azam had said.
The "extravagant" birthday celebrations drew flak from several quarters.
Later today, while addressing a gathering Mulayam tore into Jawaharlal Nehru for his post-Independence policies and said "Nehru's polices in the pre-Independence period were on the right track, but after Independence Nehru eschewed the path of socialism and youth welfare".
Invoking his political guru Ram Manohar Lohia who had said "there is a sea of difference between Nehru before Independence and Prime Minister Nehru", Mulayam told the gathering "during his regime conditions of poor and exploited started deteriorating... It is due to his faulty polices that about 25 core people do not get even two square meals a day".
Around 3 pm, Mulayam and other dignitaries who attended the birthday celebrations left Rampur, the home turf of Azam Khan.