West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Rabri Devi on Thursday dismissed Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a sign of his old age, PTI reported.
Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday during the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha praised the prime minister. “I want to congratulate the prime minister that he tried to move ahead taking everyone along,” he said. “I hope all members to win and return, and you [Modi] become prime minister again.”
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s remarks baffled and embarrassed his party’s leaders, leading to a political storm. While Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan expressed shock and claimed Yadav was forced to make it, former SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh claimed Mulayam Singh wanted to mislead people.
Banerjee on Thursday told reporters to leave the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister alone, PTI reported. “Leave it. Mulayam Singh has grown old,” Banerjee said. “I respect his age.”
Devi, who is a former Bihar chief minister, said Yadav’s memory is fading. “Mulayam Singh Yadav is old now, his memory is fading,” Devi said. “He does not remember what to speak and when to speak. His comments do not mean anything.” Former Union Minister Tariq Anwar also snubbed Mulayam Singh Yadav similarly.
The prime minister had acknowledged the veteran leader’s wishes with folded hands and mentioned Mulayam Singh Yadav’s “blessings” in his speech. “There is much to do,” he said. “And Mulayam Singhji has given his blessings. I am very grateful to him.”
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments came at a time when his son Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has supported Opposition leaders in forming an alliance to defeat Modi and the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
Samajwadi Party MLA MLA Shailendra Yadav defended Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comment. “He had given similar blessing to former prime minister Manmohan Singhji,” the lawmaker said. “Now, [Narendra] Modiji will also go.”