NEW DELHI: At a time when Mandal politicians Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar are being seen by many as potential partners of an anti-BJP alliance, Union minister Arun Jaitley used the 43rd anniversary of Emergency to remind them that they were inheritors of the anti-Congress legacy of their ideological mentor, Socialist Ram Manohar Lohia.
Jaitley said Socialists who were inspired by Lohia, who coined “Congress hatao desh bachao” slogan in the 1960s, and had constituted an important part of the resistance against Emergency had not been consistent in their opposition to Congress. “Lohia’s legacy was represented by George Fernandes, Madhu Limaye and Raj Narain, who were all consistently anti-Congress.
Today, that has been inherited by Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh and substantially by Nitish Kumar in Bihar. While the trace of anti-Congressism is visible in both, the party formed by Mulayam Singh Yadav is always willing to do business with Congress. I have always serious doubts whether those who represent the political DNA of Lohia and Nehru can in the long run ever work together,” Jaitley said.
The observation, in the concluding part of Jaitley’s three-part blog on the Emergency, comes at a time when Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party is expected to be part of a grand anti-BJP coalition comprising Congress and others. Significantly, while Jaitley did not comment on Nitish Kumar’s anti-Congress stance, the Bihar CM too had joined hands with Lohia’s principal political foe to defeat BJP in the 2015 state elections.
Though Kumar has since revived his partnership with BJP, Jaitley’s emphasis on anti-Congressism of Socialists coincides with speculation that he was unhappy with BJP over the issue of seat-sharing and could consider his options.
Jaitley also took a dig at the Left for its role during the Emergency. He said while CPI was an supporter of Emergency, CPM was not an active participant in protests, with only two of its MPs arrested.