A stage performance by Bollywood actress Evelyn Sharma at the Saifai Mahotsav festival in Uttar Pradesh (UP) this week, has landed her in the midst of a political controversy involving Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The Samajwadi Party leaders are facing flak for actively taking part in this 14-day fest being organized at their hometown Saifai, in Etawah district, while more than 3,500 people continue to live in relief camps set up after the Muzaffarnagar riots three months ago that left more than 63 people dead and over 43,000 homeless in the state.
Terming the acts at the festival as shameful, the BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai said that the SP was engaged in “raag-rang” (fun and frolic) even as riot-affected persons lived in misery. Congress vice-president and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who recently paid a visit to the camps, criticized the Akhilesh-led state government.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has attacked the UP government for “bulldozing” the relief camps. Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma has also slammed Mulayam Singh for being insensitive towards the plights of riot victims.
Meanwhile, Evelyn’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar has sprung up to her defense. “It’s unfortunate and disturbing that the Bollywood actress is being dragged into a political controversy. Evelyn was just a performer at the event. Nothing more; nothing less!”
“It’s disturbing for her, also because this was the first time she performed on stage in front of an audience of lakhs. It was an exciting moment for her and she never imagined it would land her amidst a controversy with political bigwigs talking about it,” he added.