Old Janata Parivar sings unity tune at SP meet

Lucknow, Nov 5 (IANS) Senior leaders from the erstwhile ‘Janata Parivar’ on Saturday called for unity and urged all parties to come together to oppose communal forces.

Led by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, the leaders pitched for opposition unity at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Samajwadi Party (SP) at Janeshwar Mishra Park in the state capital.

Deve Gowda said he would be happy to see all parties come together and form an alliance under the leadership of his one-time Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Referring to his term as the Prime Minister and Mulayam as Defence Minister, the Karnataka leader said the time had come for like-minded parties to come together and defeat the “forces which were out to divide the society and the nation”.

“People who came to power in the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the man behind uniting various provinces into one India, are now out to divide the nation,” he remarked in his spirited address.

Former Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav, who was representing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the function, spoke of the old ties within the Socialist group and said it was good that they had gathered together at the silver jubilee gala of a party formed and nurtured by their friend Mulayam.

He however was non-committal on any ‘Third Front’ formation and told media persons before attending the event that it was too premature to say anything in this direction. “We have come here on the invitation of Mulayam Singh Yadav, an old friend, a ‘sangharsh ke saathi’, to be part of the silver jubilee function of the Samajwadi Party,” he said.

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh said a tie-up between like-minded parties was the need of the hour. The former Union Minister, who is the son of former Prime Minister Choudhary Charan Singh, was in the past bitterly opposed to Mulayam since the Yadav chieftain was picked by his father over him as his political successor. He is of the view that an alliance be stitched up between ‘secular forces’ ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, if not the 2017 state assembly polls.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, who had in the 90’s scuttled a chance for Mulayam to become Prime Minister, was also singing a different tune this time. Now, a relative of Mulayam, as his daughter is married to the grand nephew of Mulayam, Lalu announced on Saturday that his party will not field any candidates in the Uttar Pradesh polls, and in fact he would be addressing several rallies in support of SP candidates.

“We will hound Modi out of UP, as we did in the Bihar polls,” Lalu said, while hinting that he and RJD ally, the Janata Dal-U, were not averse to joining hands in Uttar Pradesh if it emerged as a potent force against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

State Samajwadi Party chief and former PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav and SP national general secretary Amar Singh too have been pushing the case of a ‘grand alliance’ between the old Janata Parivar parties.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has earlier said he is opposed to any such idea, and maintained the party should go it alone in the next state assembly polls. However, he did a u-turn recently and said he now leaves the issue of alliance with other parties to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.

(Mohit Dubey can be reached at mohit.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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