MEERUT: Leaders of various splinter groups of the old Janata Parivar came on Sunday together giving a clarion call for “unity” of “secular” forces amid ongoing efforts to revive the Janata Dal to take on BJP.
Shedding off ambiguity over the demand for unity against the “challenge from Sangh Parivar”, former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said that the days of talking about it in suggestions or indirectly are over and it’s “time for all those following Lohia, Chaudhary Charan Singh or Samajwadis to come together”.
The occasion was a rally by RLD chief Ajit Singh to make a demand to convert his former official residence 12 Tughlaq Road a memorial after his father and farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh.
On the dais were former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, Nitish Kumar, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal Yadav and some Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“Shivpal ji do you not want that all of us join together. We have no problem. You and Mulayam Singh Yadav ji have to think. I have been fighting Lalu Prasad for 20 years in Bihar but when the danger came, we did not delay for a moment and got united.
“If we get united, the country will get a direction. If you remain separate, you will keep falling. If you fall on slope you do not get a support, Lohia had said so. Beware before you start falling,” Kumar said, a contention, which was supported by all others.
The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh was decimated in recent Lok Sabha election with BJP nearly sweeping the 80 seats.
Agreeing to Kumar’s pitch, Deve Gowda said that an effort to bring together these forces was also made during the Lok Sabha polls but it did not succeed.
“What happened has happened. The time now is to bring together Janata Parivar … We should attempt to forge unity among secular forces,” he said.
While JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi said that even the Sangh Parivar cannot match the power of Janata Parivar if these parties come together, SP’s Shivpal Singh Yadav said, “Even today if we start working together, the communal forces will be kicked away.”
The message of unity from old Janata Parivar family has come months after Narendra Modi juggernaut decimated Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and JD(U) and RJD in Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls.
While the coming together of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar for the Bihar assembly bypolls was the first major move towards this larger unity, JD(U) has already announced its support to Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD in the forthcoming assembly elections.
Fuelling speculation of an alliance with Samajwadi Party, Sharad Yadav had on Wednesday shared the dais with SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in the state and had said socialists have displayed unity at the time of crisis.
In Kerala, Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party, headed by former Union minister MP Veerendra Kumar, had announced its decision to merge with JD(U) last month.
Besides, efforts are on to bring on board splinter groups which are politically significant in other states.
Sources said that the JD(U) President will soon be travelling to Odisha, where he will be meeting Biju Janta Dal (BJD) leaders, including chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Besides he will also be visiting Telangana as JD(U) is keen to take K Chandrasekhar Rao’s party on board in his efforts to cobble up a bigger non-Congress, non-BJP regional grouping of political parties.
After the Meerut rally, the JD(U) will hold joint rallies with INLD in Haryana for two days. JD(U) was quick to come in support of RLD chief Ajit Singh’s demand to declare the official bungalow where he and earlier his father lived a memorial after the late farmer leader.
While supporting the demand, Nitish Kumar today also said that the farmer leader should be given the Bharat Ratna.
Wondering is political rivals will be treated like this, Kumar alleged that a number of ex-Ministers of BJP are occupying their bungalows in his state.
Referring to Muzaffarnagar riots, Kumar said that sometime back an attempt was made to divide the farmer community during the Lok Sabha elections.
“Dictatorship is at peak,” Nitish Kumar said and also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his handling of China and Pakistan.
“Where has all the aggression gone, which was being shown during the Lok Sabha election campaigning. Where are good days (Achche Din) and for whom I do not know. Some people say good days have come for the brooms,” Kumar said, taking a dig at Modi’s recent launch of the Swachch Bharat mission during which the Prime Minister had wielded a broom.
Sharad Yadav told the gathering of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh that the “death procession of the ideology of Chaudhary Charan Singh” was taken out in Western UP some time back and alleged that the politics of polarisation helped the BJP in the state.
He also alleged that those representing 80 per cent of population are under-represented in the NDA Cabinet, which “is full of people like Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley”.
Ajit Singh said that so many bungalows were converted in memorials but “rule book is referred to only when Charan Singh’s name comes”.
The leader of Congress in Uttar Pradesh legislative council Naseeb Pathan and party leader from Uttarkhand Dhirendra Pratap were also present on the dais.