Lucknow, Sep 11 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday praised Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and called him a “respected leader committed to democracy”.
Addressing a public rally during a brief stopover in Sarsawa in Saharanpur district, Modi took on the Congress and accused it of being arrogant even after losing power so badly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
In the same breath, he recalled how 40 MPs in Lok Sabha belonging to the Congress had taken the monsoon session hostage and did not allow the transaction of important business in the house.
It was then that Mulayam Singh raised his voice against this unruly behaviour and broke ranks with the Congress in favour of democratic norms, Modi told the gathering,
Addressing Mulayam Singh as ‘aadarniya’ (respected), the prime minister said politically they were opponents and the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister was his bitter critic but for the sake of democracy, “Mulayam Singh-ji aired his fair opinion”.
The prime minister also said that his government was committed to the welfare and prosperity of the farmers and pointed out how the union government had okayed export of sugar and had released Rs.6,000 crore towards payment of arrears to cane growers.
Modi’s unstinted praise for the Yadav chieftain stirred up political temperature in the state and led to many a rumour windmills working overtime.
While the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) maintained a studied silence on the significant development, the Uttar Pradesh unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brushed aside the words as coming from a “statesman prime minister”.