It wasn’t surprising to witness the media retorting to spreading horrendous lies against the UP government by claiming that the Yogi Adityanath government spent a whopping Rs 133 crore on the Deepotsav festival organised by the state government. It was later found out that the mainstream media forgot to add a decimal and the state government had sanctioned only Rs 1.33 crore for the festival. As the initial reports emerged from the likes of The Indian Express, The Hindu, NDTV, National Herald, ABP News and the Outlook, the liberals had a field day slamming the Yogi Adityanath government. As always, the liberals have gone back to their shell after their shoddy hit job was destroyed as the UP government issued a clarification.
The same liberals maintained a stoic silence when the previous Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government plundered hundreds of crores of public money to organise the “Saifai Mahotsav” which often garnered media attention for its brutal grandeur even in the face of a tragedy.
The SP government organised the Saifai Mahotsav between 1997-2015 to commemorate the birthplace of their patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Perhaps India is the only country where the media slams the government when it commemorates its freedom fighters as we saw in the case of the Statue of Unity and turns a blind eye when the government spends hundreds of crores of taxpayer’s money to commemorate leaders who have proven to be detrimental to India’s growth story.
Saifai Mahotsav was an annual 15-day cultural fair organised by Ranveer Singh Smriti Saifai Mahotsav committee to commemorate the birthplace of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The Muzzafarnagar riots of 2014 shook the nation and the SP government displayed its apathy when instead of focusing on the rehabilitation of the victims, the then UP government found it prudent to spend a whopping Rs 334 crores on the Saifai Mahotsav.
As the riot victims continued to suffer in the unforgiving winter, the SP government spent Rs 100 crores on its ‘Bollywood Night’ from the state treasury. Saifai Mahotsav has witnessed many starry nights as the likes of Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit to Parineeti Chopra and Jacqueline Fernandez all have performed for the Yadav family’s extravagance. The UP government brazened it out and the dynast Akhilesh was enraged when questioned about the huge expense and asked the media house to apologise for coming up with the Rs 334 crore expense report.
Media reports suggest that a whopping Rs 334 crore were spent from state exchequer to finance the annual extravaganza, out of which Rs 5 crore was spent on Sports College, Rs 3.11 cr on Tourism Complex, Rs 42 crore on Trauma and Burn Center, Rs 103.21 crore on swimming pool, and Rs 4 crore were spent on repairing the lights at the Saifai air-strip. Further, Rs 90 lakh were spent on repairing the airport boundary, Rs 26 crore on ‘Apna Bazaar,’ and Rs 150 crore on expanding the road from Saifai to Mainpuri.
Expectedly, the state government also deployed thousands of police personnel at a time when security in UP was a burning issue as the law and order during the SP government were often found wanting. In order to ensure the safety of B-town big-wigs, police force from Bareilly, Agra, Kanpur and Jhansi divisions was officially deployed, while personnel from various other districts were pressed into service unofficially as the government is said to have paid allowances to 1055 troops.
Logic is a luxury that the Yadav family isn’t blessed with as Akhilesh brazened the expense out by claiming it is being done to boost the state tourism while Mulayam went a step further and claimed that “villagers too have a right to enjoy Bollywood performances.”
While the Saifai Mahotsav has always been in the news for the wrong reasons and contributes absolutely nothing to preserving India’s rich cultural heritage, Deepotsav which has been declared as a state event by the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government does not only help in celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the state, but also comes as a major boost to the local economy of the state.
Contrary to that, Saifai holds no cultural importance. It’s an obnoxious event where Bollywood stars gather and questionable activities do take place. Ayodhya Deepotsav is a recreation of the return of Bhagwan Ram. Hindu festivals are celebrated as recreation right from Janamashtmi, Mahashivratri, Tulsi Vivah and many other. The message behind these festivals is to keep the cultural values alive.
Deepotsav recently entered the coveted Guinness Book of World Records as UP government’s Director of Information Shishir said, “Last year’s record was of three lakh one thousand one hundred eighty-six ‘diyas’ at the ghat. This time, it was four lakh 10 thousand ‘diyas’ lit at the ghat. This was announced by Guinness World Records representative and is a new record. Apart from this, more than two lakh ‘diyas’ were lit elsewhere than the ghat. In all, more than six lakh ‘diyas’ were lit.”
By declaring Deepotsav as a state event, the UP government is ensuring that the event boosts tourism to the ancient city in an unprecedented manner. And then the procurement of diyas, oil and other logistics in preparation of the grand event also clearly adds to the local economy of the town. With the presence of foreign dignitaries at the event in two consecutive years, it has also become clear that the event has the potential of attracting tourists from around the world. Moreover, the fact that the event has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records is bound to further fascinate tourists across the globe. And if all this can be made possible at the cost of Rs. 1.33 crore, then the benefits of the event indeed far exceed its costs.
While Saifai Mahotsav is of no importance and is filled with absolute vulgarity and still, the liberals have turned a blind eye to the senseless extravaganza. The Yogi Adityanath is indeed emerging as the flag bearers of preserving the rich cultural heritage of India and one hopes that the Deepotsav is just first of the many steps that the UP government stakes to preserve our heritage.