Addressing Samajwadi Party’s silver jubilee celebrations, senior leaders of different political parties — all from the erstwhile Janata Parivar — spoke about “unity of socialist parties” but did not reach any consensus on the issue at the six-hour event on Saturday. All the leaders uniformly said that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should take up the initiative to unite the socialist political parties ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but Mulayam himself maintained silence on the issue of alliance, as well as the ongoing feud in his family. He said the event was organised to discuss various challenges prevailing before society.
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JD(S) leader and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said that communal forces were rising in the country and to defeat them it is necessary that all leaders on the dais work in unity under Mulayam’s leadership. “I hope secular forces will unite to fight communal forces,” he said. Deve Gowda appealed Mulayam to take the initiative so that secular and regional parties join hands under his (Mulayam’s) leadership. Deve Gowda, who was Prime Minister from June 1996 to April 1997, also stressed on the importance of uniting people of socialist ideology to restart the “mission left incomplete” in 1997.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief and former Union minister Ajit Singh said the upcoming state election will be held not only to form a government but its results will also decide the country’s future. “The alliance we are discussing for UP elections today needs to be expanded for the contest of 2019 (Lok Sabha polls),” he said. Stating that election alliances are a difficult task, Singh made an “appeal to all leaders present on the stage” to ignore self-interests “think what they could give to the people of UP, and the country”.
Addressing to Mulayam, Singh said, “It is your responsibility to unite all. Keval UP ka hi nahin.desh ka bhala kariye (Not just UP, help the country as well). He told the gathering that it was their responsibility to keep the BJP away from UP and then change the government at the Centre. Supporting Ajit Singh’s views, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said it will be Mulayam’s responsibility to invite people and political parties of similar ideologies for talks. He said RJD will not contest the UP Assembly polls and will work to strengthen SP and prevent the BJP from coming to power. Former national president of Janata Dal (United) Sharad Yadav said Mulayam has the strength to unite people. He said Shivpal and Mulayam invited all the leaders to Saturday’s event because they want to protect the Ganga-Jamuni culture – and because people want to live in harmony and peace.
INLD leader Abahay Chautala said, “I am thankful to all of you for showing the strength and taking the initiative for taking ahead the Third Front.” Chautala said that in Karnal on September 25 this year— on the birth anniversary of former deputy PM Devi Lal — it had been proposed that the leaders present should forget their minor differences because people want change in the country. Shivpal had attended that event in Karnal, and JD(U) president and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was the chief guest. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav too asked the gathering to take a pledge to ensure that SP returns to power in 2017 and said a historical result will come in 2019 LS polls. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav presided over the event but did not speak directly on the possibilities of formation of an alliance.
The absentees at SP’s Big Bash
Amar neither on dais nor in hoardings
Facing attack from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his supporters and being termed as an “outsider”, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, preferred to skip the mega bash organised in Lucknow to mark 25 years of Samajwadi Party. Photographs of Amar, who is also SP national general secretary, were missing from hoardings and banners put up across the state capital. SP spokesperson Deepak Mishra said that Amar could not attend the event because he was not well and had intimated in this regard to state party chief.
Azam skips mega bash for ‘pilgrimage’
That all’s still not well in the Samajwadi Party became all the more evident Saturday when the mega event called to celebrate the silver jubilee of the party had no signs of founding member and Cabinet minister Azam Khan. Party said he is currently abroad on a pilgrimage. This is not the first time in the last few days, ever since the feud in the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan has broken out, that Azam has remained conspicuous by his absence. Azam, the Muslim face of SP, had also skipped Akhilesh’s yatra launch.