India

Social justice and secular democracy remained important pillars for Mulayam, says Sitaram Yechury

With great sadness, I get the news of the passing away of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He was a staunch fighter for social justice and upholding the secular democratic foundation of the Indian Republic. Influenced by the socialist stream of politics in India, especially by Ram Manohar Lohia, Mulayam Singh Yadav played a vital role in organizing the youth at one point in time and played a very active role during the JP movement and also against the Emergency. Through this process, he entered politics. Throughout his life, he carried forward these two essential pillars—social justice and the secular democratic foundation of India—on which his political activity was focused.

My association with him dates back to 1988-89, before the formation of the VP Singh government, and since then, he has been a firm ally with the Left parties and the Left movement. Along with the Left, he and other secular democratic parties played a significant role in ensuring the unity of secular democratic forces to ensure that the communal troops do not seize the reins of state power and thereby undermine our constitutional system.

And the protection of the marginalized sections, especially religious minorities, Dalits, tribals, and backward classes, who spent most of their time in their work. He was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh thrice. He was also the Defense Minister of India. We had many opportunities for lengthy talks and crisis-management situations. A crisis arose when the Congress under Sitaram Kesari withdrew support to the Deve Gowda government. The question was whether the government would fall due to early elections or if we could find an alternative within the United Front. I remember when IK Gujral was sworn in as the Prime Minister; we sat in Andhra Bhavan all night. Mulayam Singh Yadav was critical in resolving various issues of the struggle. Those were the times when he actively, along with other leaders of secular democratic parties, played a role in creating a secular democratic alternative. Later, in 2004, he formed the United Progressive Alliance, which ran the government for ten years.

We have had differences as well as disagreements. When the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government fell by one vote in 1999, there was a difference of opinion over forming an alternative government. And under UPA, when Left parties opposed the Indo-US nuclear deal, Samajwadi Party went with us. Still, at the last moment, they said atomic energy is vital for India, and they voted for the UPA government on a confidence motion while we opposed it.

The no-confidence motion came only after the Left parties withdrew support. That was another occasion when there was a difference of opinion. On the question of seeking the nomination of KR Narayanan as the President of India in 2002, the SP initially joined us in trying to persuade Narayanan to contest again. But when the Vajpayee government announced the name of APJ Abdul Kalam, he backtracked.

At times some differences of this nature emerged. Still, on critical issues such as social justice, strengthening secularism, and protecting the rights of minorities and equality for all Indians irrespective of their caste and creed, their position was very similar to that of all progressive classes.

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Nisha

Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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