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Lessons in Secularism?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 March 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Over the years, Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has projected himself as a committed adherent of secular principles. He has unfailingly aligned with secular groups in Parliament and has been careful about dealing only with ‘secular’ political parties. He has generally referred to the BJP as a “commul” political party, and has had nothing to do with it over the years. He has done everything possible to bring up his son Akhilesh Yadav, now former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh like him, to pursue the same political agenda as he has done. Even if he has not succeeded entirely, he succeeded at least in making him one of the youngest chief ministers in the country. In the business of disciplining his son and shaping him into an able politician, he even felt the need to suspend Akhilesh from the party briefly in December last year. It will be recalled that Akhilesh had been urging his father to let him handle the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh entirely by himself. He had been so sure of a major victory that he had told his father that he would hand over the Samajwadi Party’s affairs to him after winning the elections. However, he must have realized that cakewalk victories for the Samajwadi Party (SP) were no longer possible in the State without additiol help. So he joined forces with the Congress. The results have been most disappointing both for the SP and the Congress. The SP that had been in power maged to win only 47 of the 403 seats of the UP Assembly (11.66 per cent) and the Congress won no more than seven. This was not unexpected considering that the Congress had won only two seats at the Lok Sabha elections of 2014—those of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Most people in UP must have realized rather belatedly how hollow the claims made about secularism have been. If anything, the SP has been as commul as any other political party in the matter of choosing candidates for the different Assembly constituencies. Lately, even its claims about being the only political party to look after the Muslim population have been derailed by statements that the SP had done nothing for its Muslim voters.
Given this background and the SP’s aversion to “commul” political parties like the BJP, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s attempts to propitiate the BJP after its steamroller victory at the recent UP Assembly elections (312 seats out of 403) is indeed amusing. Mulayam Singh Yadav even requested Prime Minister rendra Modi to take care of Akhilesh (now out of political power) and to “teach him”, regardless of what such a request could do to the credentials of a ‘secular’ political party. But all such actions are deemed fair and appropriate in the world of politics that countences strange bedfellows without batting an eyelid.

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