From trading barbs to walking hand-in-hand at public events, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav shared a unique relationship.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Yadav, sitting in the Opposition benches, left everyone present in Lok Sabha amused when he expressed the hope that Modi returns as the prime minister again.
The moment was recalled by Prime Minister Modi on Monday as he paid tributes to Yadav at an event in Bharuch (Gujarat) and said that they had a “special relationship”.
“Even in the midst of our political differences, during the concluding session of the last Lok Sabha, the candid words of a senior leader like Mulayam Singh ji on the floor of the House were like a blessing,” Modi said.
In the electoral arena, they attacked each other with barbs and taunts.
In January 2014, ahead of the parliamentary elections, the then BJP prime ministerial candidate Modi had hit out at Yadav for his remarks that he would not let Uttar Pradesh become Gujarat.
Responding to Yadav’s statement made in Varanasi, Modi had told a gathering in Gorakhpur that the Samajwadi Party (SP) leader does not have a 56-inch chest to convert UP into Gujarat as his state has a 24-hour power supply in every village and street.
“You can’t do it. It requires a 56-inch chest,” Modi had said.
Mulayam returned the 56-inch jibe in October that year.
Addressing party workers in Lucknow on being re-elected SP’s president, he referred to shelling by Pakistani troops at the Line of Control to attack the BJP government at the Centre.
A trained wrestler, Yadav also said Modi needed a 56-inch chest to take on SP.
Modi had targeted Mulayam for his remarks that men can’t be sent to the gallows for committing rape.
Addressing a rally in Moradabad, the SP leader had said, “ladke ladke hain, ho jaati hai (boys will be boys, mistakes will happen).” He said there cannot be capital punishment for rape.
In February 2017 while addressing a rally in Badaun, Modi said, “An SP MLA from Badaun levelled serious allegations against an SP MP and if a reporter approaches Mulayam Singh for comments, he would have said boys make mistakes,” Modi had said.
But at the 2015 ’tilak’ ceremony of Yadav’s grandnephew Tej Pratap, they walked hand-in-hand in Saifai, the SP leader’s ancestral village in Uttar Pradesh.
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi said the SP patriarch had a “big heart” and showered him with blessings despite their political rivalry.
“Without mincing words, he (Mulayam) had said that Modiji takes everyone along, so I am confident that he will be re-elected again in 2019,” the prime minister said, referring to the SP leader’s speech in Lok Sabha.
In his remarks, Mulayam has said it is his wish that the members present in the House return after polls. He then went on to say that Modi should return as prime minister as the Opposition cannot get the required mandate.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)