Lucknow, Feb 14 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and some of his ministerial colleagues thanked Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav for his comments in the Lok Sabha that he wishes to see Narendra Modi back as prime minister.

Before replying to a question in the state Assembly, Maurya said, “I congratulate and thank Mulayam Singh Yadav ji for his statement.” Uttar Pradesh Parliamentary Affairs minister Suresh Khanna claimed that Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statement was reflective of the country’s sentiments.

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. Modi also thanked Mulayam Singh Yadav for his “blessings”.

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 (BSP) to challenge the BJP in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. UP accounts for 80 of the 545 Lok Sabha seats.

However, SP MLA Shailendra Yadav, defended his party patriarch’s statement saying, “He had given similar blessing to former prime minister Manmohan Singhji. Now, (Narendra) Modiji will also go (not come to power again).” State Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi, referring to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comment, said, “With advancing age, a person start speaking truth.” Meanwhile, hoardings have come up at some places in the state capital thanking Mulayam Singh Yadav for his remarks.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.