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India under ‘threat of bigotry and religious hegemony’, Stalin writes to 37 national leaders

Stalin asked the leaders to nominate representatives for the platform called Social Justice which he had formed to create a roadmap to take forward the battle for social justice in India.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K StalinTamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin (Twitter/MK Stalin)

Days after announcing the launch of an All India Federation for Social Justice, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin wrote to 37 non-BJP leaders cutting across the regional and political spectrum, inviting them to nominate their party representatives to “fight the threat of bigotry and religious hegemony”.

The letter has been sent to Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, D Raja, Sitaram Yechury, N Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, Mehboobha Mufti, K Chandrashekar Rao, Uddhav Thackeray and Akhilesh Yadav, among others.

The letter also addresses — besides the DMK’s allies VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan and MDMK’s Vaiko — the party’s rivals O Panneerselvam of the AIADMK and PMK’s S Ramadoss.

Stalin’s announcement of the forum on January 26 — when he said that apart from seeking social justice, its goal would be to achieve federalism — was seen as the DMK chief’s attempt to position himself as a national leader, someone who can be a rallying force for anti-BJP parties.

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In his letter, Stalin said the federation was meant to be a common platform for all leaders, members of civil society, like-minded individuals and organisations to strive towards achieving the principles of federalism and social justice at the national level. “Social Justice as an ideology is simple — ‘everything for everyone’. It is the belief that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Only by ensuring this equality of opportunity can we build the egalitarian society visualised by the framers of our Constitution,” he wrote.

Invoking Tamil rationalist Thanthai Periyar and Tamil Nadu’s emphasis on social justice, Stalin said, “As I write this, our unique, diverse, multi-cultural federation is under threat of bigotry and religious hegemony. These forces can only be fought if all who believe in equality, self-respect and social justice unite together. It is not a question of political gain but re-establishing the pluralistic identity of our Republic, as visualised by our founding fathers.”

Pointing to the DMK’s “politico-legal battle to obtain 27% OBC reservations in state-contributed seats in the All-India quota for medical and dental courses across the country”, Stalin said he believes that “the time has finally arrived to stand together as a true Union of States… We must unite with the same conviction and purpose as we did in order to establish the Mandal Commission. In each State, the oppressed classes are yearning to have the doors of opportunity opened to them”.

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Stalin’s pitch comes in the backdrop of the BJP’s aggressive nationalism, which it has tried to bring into Tamil Nadu riding piggyback on the AIADMK.

First published on: 02-02-2022 at 17:22 IST
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