Posters thanking Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav were put up in Lucknow on Wednesday after the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in parliament and said that he hopes to see him back in power after the general elections this year.
"Thank you Mulayam Singh Yadav, today you reiterated the wish of 125 crore Indians in the Lok Sabha," one poster read.
In a surprising statement that left many in the opposition stunned, Mr Yadav said he wished to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-elected. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, sitting next to Mr Yadav in the Lok Sabha, looked visibly surprised.
The 79-year-old Uttar Pradesh leader's comments came at a time when his son and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been seen supporting opposition leaders in their efforts to forge an anti-BJP alliance to oust Prime Minister Modi-led government from the centre.
"I congratulate the Prime Minister because he has tried to take everybody along. I want to say that all members must win and come again and Narendra Modi should become the Prime Minister again," he said in the Lok Sabha.
Acknowledging Mr Yadav's compliment with folded hands, Prime Minister Modi thanked him twice for his remark.
In January, the Samajwadi Party and the Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party forged an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, raising a formidable challenge for the ruling BJP at the centre. Among all states, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of 80 Lok Sabha seats and plays a crucial role in government formation at the centre.