Mulayam Singh said he hoped PM Modi became prime minister again (File)
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee took a sharp jibe at Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha, saying the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had grown old.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a surprising comment, said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday that he hoped PM Modi became prime minister again.
"I want to congratulate the PM that he tried to move ahead taking everyone along. I hope all members to win and return, and you (PM Modi) become prime minister again," Mulayam Singh, 79, said in the Lok Sabha, surprising UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who was sitting beside the leader.
"Leave it. Mulayam Singh has grown old. I respect his age. Leave him," Ms Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Akhilesh Yadav, who took over the party, has allied with rival Mayawati for the Lok Sabha election, to keep the BJP– which had won 71 out of 80 seats in 2014 polls– at bay in Uttar Pradesh.
When PM Modi delivered his last speech of the Lok Sabha before polls, he thanked Mr Yadav for his "blessings". "There is much to do. And Mulayam Singhji has given his blessings. I am very grateful to him," he said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he disagreed with Mulayam Singh, but still respect his opinion.
Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi also said that Mr Yadav was too old now. "Mulayam Singh Yadav is old now, his memory is fading. He does not remember what to speak and when to speak. His comments don''t mean anything," she said.
In 2017, Akhilesh Yadav carried out a coup of sorts to dismiss Mulayam Singh Yadav from the top post of the party he founded. He also showed the door to his uncle Shivpal Yadav.
Mulayam Singh Yadav later supported Akhilesh Yadav, but also attended rally organised by Shivpal Yadav, sending confusing signals to party workers.