Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday stressed that there was ‘no question’ of holding the Saifai Mahotsav in a low-key manner, despite his government facing stinging criticism from the media and the Opposition parties.

Mr. Yadav, who recently lashed out at the media for its “negative reporting” of the carnival in his ancestral village in Etawah, said it was highlighting only his government’s faults while ignoring all its social welfare schemes.

The Saifai Mahotsav drew much flak as it came at a time when displaced riot victims were reeling under the cold in Muzaffarnagar.

“How much space did the media give to other cultural events at the carnival? The two events [the riots and the carnival] are not linked. We carried out our responsibility towards the riot victims. The media need not tell us how to organise the Mahotsav. The Mela organisers will do that,” he told The Hindu when asked if holding a “low-key” event would have helped mend his party’s image in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

Incidentally, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati celebrated her 58th birthday on Wednesday in a low-key fashion to express solidarity with the Muzaffarnagar riot victims.

‘Time to learn management’

While launching the 102 National Ambulance Services specially dedicated for pregnant women, Mr. Yadav contended that his government was ahead on the work front but lagged behind in publicising its achievements. “It’s time we learn some management. The good work of our government does not get space for long,” he said, adding that other States would find it difficult to distribute as many laptops in five years as his government had done in two years.

With Muslims slowly alienating themselves from the Samajwadi Party (SP), and the Narendra Modi-led BJP targeting the OBC votes, there are speculations that the SP’s core vote banks of Muslims and OBCs could be dented.

Mr. Yadav also claimed that the alleged eviction of riot victims from relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli was part of the propaganda by the Opposition parties and the “religious mafia”.

He said: “I met a delegation of victims. They said things are being sorted out. There are no complaints against the State. No State has done so much for riot victims.”