Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party is busy preparing for a grand celebration of the 76th birthday of its founder and national president Mulayam Singh Yadav on November 22.
While a host of functions have been lined up for the event at the party office on Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow, the big bash will be held on November 21 at the athletic stadium in Saifai, the Yadav clan’s ancestral village.
Informed sources told IANS that the Rajkiya Nirman Nigam had been vested with the responsibility of holding the show, which is likely to draw over 50,000 fans and followers of the wrestler-turned-politician, envoys from some 10 countries, movie stars and industrialists.
The stadium is being decked up for the D-day, as acclaimed music composer A.R. Rahman is set to perform on the eve of the birthday. Organisers said there would also be “cultural performances” by Bollywood stars and dance troupes from Mumbai.
Mulayam Singh’s son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is supervising the preparations “and is keen to make the day a memorable one for his father”, said an organiser.
Adding a dash of glamour to the event are likely to be Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan (both have in the past performed at Saifai Mahotsava).
Also in attendance would be mega star Amitabh Bachchan, and his politician wife Jaya Bachchan, a Rajya Sabha MP of the Samajwadi Party. Invites have been sent to industrialists Anil Ambani and Adi Godrej. Scores of Uttar Pradesh ministers and bureaucrats will also attend.
Among political bigwigs would be Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad, Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik is slated to be part of the celebrations.
All government accommodation – guest houses, circuit houses and dak bungalows – and major hotels have been booked in neighbouring Mainpuri, Etawah, Firozabad and Agra to host the VVIP visitors.
“With the influx of several VVIPs and celebrities, the Saifai airstrip is being done up and security fortified there and around the venue,” an official said.
Visitors will get a lavish spread, mostly vegetarian fare. Other than the usual north Indian delicacies, there will also be ‘sarrata’ (hot and spicy curd concoction) and ‘kaddu-poorie’.
Last year, Mulayam Singh’s long-standing friend and Uttar Pradesh’s powerful minister Mohd Azam Khan had rolled out the red carpet for Netaji — as the Samajwadi Party is called — in Rampur on his birthday.
He was taken around in an imported Victorian buggy. School children had lined up the path, playing music and bands. The money spent on the extravaganza was questioned by the media and the opposition.