Lucknow: Apparently stung by the Shiv Sena branding Uttar Pradesh as an "Islamic state", Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will address a public rally in Mumbai on 16 February to take on the BJP's ally in Maharashtra.
"Mulayam will address a 'desh banao-desh bachao' rally in Mumbai on 16 February," SP's Maharashtra unit chief Abu Asim Azmi said on Tuesday from Mumbai.
The SP supremo's decision to hold a rally in Mumbai assumes significance against the backdrop of Sena accusing the UP government of doing "anti-national business for appeasement politics".
Sena had lashed out at the Akhilesh Yadav government for allowing Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali to hold a concert in Lucknow on Sunday.
"The 'Islamic Yadav' government says that Ghulam Ali was invited to perform to promote Hindu-Muslim unity. But, to promote unity, why does one need Pakistani artistes? There are fine Muslim artistes in the country who are famous," Sena had said in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
The party had also alleged that keeping the upcoming UP Assembly polls in mind, the SP government had started "an anti-national business (of inviting Pakistani artistes) to play appeasement politics."
Meanwhile, addressing newly elected block pramukhs, zila panchayat members and district panchayat heads, Mulayam pulled up party leaders for not highlighting the achievements of the state government.
He also threatened to oust them within six months if they failed to ensure victory of party candidates in the upcoming Legislative Council polls.
The elections to 36 MLC seats are to be held on 3 March.
Mulayam also blamed party legislators and ministers for SP's poor performance during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party was reduced to five seats out of 80 in the elections.