Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday claimed he had soft-pedalled the Bofors issue during his tenure as defence minister in the United Front government (1996-98) after he saw how well the artillery guns worked.
Hailing former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi for introducing the powerful Bofors artillery guns, he said, “When I first saw a Bofors gun firing, the first thought that came to my mind was that Rajiv did a good job. It was for the same reason that I soft-pedalled the issue (‘file gayab kar di’).”
Yadav was speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University in the state capital, where he also questioned the current Modi government’s defence policy.
“On the one hand, our prime minister shakes hands with Chinese delegates. On the other hand, incursion by the Chinese armed forces into Indian territory is reported. It was only after we raised the issue that the Chinese army moved back. One has to be stern on such issues,” said Yadav, stating that India faced a greater threat from China than Pakistan.
Speaking for 90 minutes, Yadav however acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diligence, commending him for his rise from a tea seller.
The former chief minister also paid tribute to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, and urged students to take lessons from his life. “He was a great political leader, freedom fighter and a law enthusiast. I opened a law university in order to educate the present generation and to realise the dream of Dr Lohia,” he said.
Claiming that the SP was the only party that promoted education in state, he said, “When I first became UP’s chief minister, there were only seven medical universities in the state but now there are 24, all constructed during the SP government. It’s only SP that has promoted education in the state.”
Books based on Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Mulayam Singh Yadav were released on the occasion, and meritorious students were felicitated.