"The Prime Minister is copying me," Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav claimed today on the issue of adopting villages and constructing toilets while having a dig at the PM's clean India drive, saying if poverty is removed, "gandagi" (squalor) will vanish. "He (Modi) is talking about adopting villages. I have adopted villages in 1990. The Prime Minister is copying me. I have done all this. I have initiated construction of toilets in 1990," Yadav said while addressing a function here. The SP chief said, "you talk about removing 'gandagi'. You first remove poverty and it will automatically vanish." "I have already done, what he (PM) is talking now. You all should know," he said while asking party leaders, including legislators and ministers, to adopt at least two villages and work with full dedication there. Rubbishing criticism over his "extravagant" birthday celebrations with questions raised on the source of funds, Yadav said state money was not spent on it. "Those who are writing about this are ignorant.. No money of government was spent in Rampur," Yadav, who celebrated his 75th birthday by cutting a 75-foot-long cake in Rampur yesterday, said. Several parties had questioned the source of funds for the grand two-day celebrations held in Rampur, which was attended by his son Akhilesh and 40 other Uttar Pradesh ministers. The criticism had met with a sarcastic response from Azam Khan that Taliban and Dawood Ibrahim provided funds for the event, which fuelled a controversy. Mulayam also rode an imported Victorian-style 'buggy' during the event (horse-driven carriage), which was stated to have been imported from London. The SP chief also pulled up the Akhilesh government for the "slow place" of work on development front in UP, saying he was only hearing about "foundation-laying" and not "inauguration" of such schemes. "There are a lot of schemes, but the pace of work is very slow. I am hearing about launch (foundation-laying) of schemes and not about their inauguration. I am not getting chance to inaugurate schemes", he said. He was addressing a programme on the occasion of foundation-laying ceremony of 302-km Lucknow-Agra Expressway here at Chief Minister's residence, in his presence. Commenting on his father's remarks regarding the functioning of his government, Akhilesh, who was in Kanpur for a wedding function, said his advice is welcome and that they will abide by it as they have always done. The Chief Minister further said that his government followed the directions given by "Netaji", as Mulayam is popularly known, and there was nothing wrong in his advice. "Netaji is the party president and he can give advice as he feels and the government follows his directions. What is wrong in it?" he asked. Asked about Mulayam's extravagant 75th birthday celebrations, Akhilesh said the SP supremo usually shies away from celebrating his birthday but agreed this time due to pressure from party workers. "It was Netaji's birthday but the entire party celebrated. It is a good thing that Azam Khan celebrated it in Rampur.every leader celebrates his own birthday" "Netaji usually does not celebrate his birthday, but he celebrated this time under our pressure," he said. On criticism that such "extravagant" birthday celebration was a "mockery of socialism", Akhilesh said, "Netaji and I both say that socialism is about prosperity and growth. If one raises questions on birthday celebrations, then they should also raise questions on why socialists are getting expressways made or why they travel in helicopters or even wear shoes. Those who criticise have no understanding of socialism and therefore, even good things do not seem right to them." Asked whether he supports Swacch Bharat Abhiyan launched by the Modi government, Akhilesh echoed Mulayam's statement that if poverty is removed, "gandagi" (squalor) will vanish. "We have formulated a policy of rewarding Safai Karmacharis. Awards will be presented to those who will maintain cleanliness in their wards," he said.