(Eds: Adds Rahul quotes, merges Lucknow story ) New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav Wednesday created a flutter in the Lok Sabha when he said he wished to see Narendra Modi back as prime minister, a sentiment acknowledged by the BJP leader with folded hands.
The “blessings” for Modi by Yadav that left opposition members squirming come at a time when his son Akhilesh Yadav has joined hands with arch-rival Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party to challenge BJP in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I wish that all members come back to the House,” Yadav said during the last sitting of the 16th Lok Sabha, .
And pointing to Modi, Yadav said, I wish pradhan mantriji becomes pradhan mantri again.” The remarks drew applause from the treasury benches.
Later, when asked to comment during a press conference on Yadav’s remarks, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, I disagree with him.’ But he added Yadav has had a role in politics, and I respect that role .
In the House, the ruling NDA alliance members lustily cheered Yadav with chants of “Jai Shri Ram” as he praised Modi, from his seat next to UPA chairperson and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
“I congratulate him for making efforts to take everyone along,” Yadav said, adding the prime minister has done good work.
Modi acknowledged the SP patriarch’s praise with folded hands and later made a mention of Yadav’s “blessings” when he took the floor to deliver his speech.
“There is much to do. And Mulayam Singhji has given his blessings. I am very grateful to him.” Yadav later ducked questions on his praise for Modi when he was mobbed by reporters while leaving the Lok Sabha.
The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh avoided comment.
I have not seen what statement he has made. I have no clue,” senior SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI in Lucknow.
When contacted, other SP leaders in UP too feigned ignorance or said they were too junior to comment.
There was no official word till late evening from his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav on the statement.
However, senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari claimed that Yadav’s statement will benefit the Congress.
“I do not know in which circumstances he gave the statement. But if any party stands to gain politically from the statement, it is certainly going to be the Congress,” Tiwari told PTI at the UP Congress headquarters.
He said those who vote in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s name are going to drift away from the SP-BSP alliance, but not towards Modi.
UP accounts for 80 of 545 Lok Sabha seats.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.