Akhilesh Yadav deftly tackled a question on his father Mulayam Singh Yadav as a possible prime ministerial candidate after the national election, saying "it will be good" but he is "probably" not in the race. "Our alliance wants to give India a new Prime Minister," the Samajwadi Party chief told news agency ANI.
"The party will decide about the PM when the final seat tally is out. It'll be good if Netaji (Mulayam Singh) gets the honour (to be PM) but I feel he is probably not in prime ministerial race," Akhilesh Yadav said.
As for himself as a candidate for the top job, the 45-year-old former Chief Minister indicated he was more interested in another stint in Uttar Pradesh after assembly polls due in 2022. "I want to increase the number of Samajwadi Party MPs in the Lok Sabha. I want to be among those who want to make a new Prime Minister. I want UP to contribute in the next government formation," he said.
Akhilesh Yadav has indicated in the past that he will back his bitter rival turned alliance partner Mayawati for the top post.
Mulayam Singh, 79, is a three-time chief minister of UP and was India's defence minister in the 1990s. He ruled himself out of the prime ministerial race last month.
But the Samajwadi patriarch did embarrass his own party and rattle the opposition when, in parliament, he wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi luck for another term. "I hope that you win again. This is my wish. We couldn't win the majority. We want you to become the Prime Minister once again," he said in February, during the farewell speeches of the outgoing Lok Sabha MPs.
Asked about his father's comments, Akhilesh Yadav said: "Netaji is from a generation when leaders used to respect other leaders irrespective of their party lines. But the behaviour of the BJP leaders towards others is not good."