NEW DELHI: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday dismissed remarks by Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament, attributing them to his old age.
Yadav Wednesday created a flutter in 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".
"Leave it. Mulayam Singh has grown old. I respect his age. Leave him," Banerjee told reporters when asked about Yadav's remarks.
Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi too indicated that age had caught up with the SP leader who is 79 years old.
"Unki umar ho gayi hai. Yaad nahi rehta hai kab kya bol denge. Unki boli ka koi mayene nahi rakhta hai (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 told reporters in Patna.
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 starts speaking the truth."
Meanwhile, hoardings have come up at some places in Uttar Pradesh capital thanking Mulayam Singh Yadav for his remarks.
"I disagree with him. But Mulayam Singh Yadav ji has had a role in politics and I respect that role," Congress President Rahul Gandhi had remarked yesterday when asked about Yadav's statement.