Mulayam ‘blesses’ Modi, denies it

Samajwadi defends party founder's statement as a 'jumla' of 'statesmanship'

  • Published 14.02.19, 3:13 AM
  • Updated 14.02.19, 9:05 AM
  • a min read
  •  
Mulayam Singh Yadav gestures in the Lok Sabha as Sonia Gandhi looks on. (PTI)

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday lavished praise on Narendra Modi and wished he would become Prime Minister again, stunning the wider Opposition on the last day of the 16th Lok Sabha.

“I want to congratulate the Prime Minister. He tried to move ahead taking everyone along,” Mulayam said.

Members of the ruling alliance thumped their desks as Mulayam spoke.

His next sentence drew a chuckle from Modi. “Mai kaamna karta hoon wo phirse Pradhan Mantri bane (I wish he becomes Prime Minister again),” Mulayam said as Modi too joined in the thumping of desks.

Mulayam, like leaders of other parties, was delivering the customary speech to mark the end of the last session of the House before the upcoming general election. The Samajwadi leader also wished that every member would get re-elected.

The 79-year-old, who had founded the Samajwadi Party that his son Akhilesh Yadav now leads, later appeared to deny that he had said anything the way it was being projected by the media. “Aisa toh kuchh kaha hai hi nahi, bhai (I haven’t said anything like this, brother),” he told reporters when asked if he wanted Modi to become the Prime Minister again.

Samajwadi leaders later termed the party patriarch’s statement “jumla” (a rhetorical comment) out of “statesmanship”.

“Respected Mulayam Singh Yadav, out of statesmanship came up with a jumla and the entire BJP was in splits,” spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari tweeted. “Modi ji, if you had courage you would have wished ‘same to you’.”

Inside the House, however, the Opposition, particularly the Congress, looked embarrassed. Sonia Gandhi, who was seated beside Mulayam when he spoke, looked grim but shed her unsmiling face after some time. Samajwadi MP Dharmendra Yadav sat glum-faced.

Modi seized on Mulayam’s comments. “There is lot to do,” he said. “And Mulayam Singhji has given his blessings. I am grateful to him.”

A BJP MP said the party would use the audiovisual clip of Mulayam’s speech while campaigning in Uttar Pradesh.

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