Monday, July, 15,2024

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MULAYAM SINGH: GRASSROOT LEADER WHO MAINTAINED RELATIONSHIPS GOING BEYOND PARTY POLITICS

The demise of Mulayam Singh Yadav is the end of an era of politics. He was a genuine person with a very kind heart. I believe this, understanding the warmth of a relationship, he was a rare person to take care of the relationship diligently. I do not remember when I first met him, but from the early days of politics, I had a close relationship with him. Later on, this relationship deepened and went on getting absorbed in deep meanings of love and respect. We may have always been separate under the political parties, but the affection and love and respect that he gave, can never be forgotten. I remember he also suffered a lot during the emergency and was put in jail. After the formation of Bharatiya Janata Party, the National Democratic Front of BJP and Lok Dal was formed in Uttar Pradesh. Its President was Mulayam Singh Yadav and I was the General Secretary. We worked together on many levels. While in politics, I also felt closely that not only did he have a geographical and social understanding of Uttar Pradesh, but his political vision was also very broad. I also saw an attachment in his mind for the workers from the very beginning. Even during elections, he used to interact with them every now and then and during this discussion new avenues were always opened. I also constantly felt his deep attachment to nationalism. Many times I used to jokingly tell him that you should have been in our party, and he used to laugh. He did not say anything, but I know that on many levels his vision was related to the cultural concerns of the nation and society.

There are very few grassroots leaders in politics at this time, and hence they are remembered even more in such times. He was a truly grassroots leader who connected with the masses. Not everyone called him ‘Netaji’ for nothing, they believed he had amazing leadership qualities and took everyone along. That is why everyone was also ready to work under his leadership. Remember, when Mayawati ji was the Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh, I used to be the Minister of Public Works Department there at that time. In Etawah, we got the buildings made by the Public Works Department. In those days an All India Conference of the Samajwadi Party was going to be held there. He had called me and requested to provide those buildings to the people coming to the conference and make some other minor arrangements. There was no question of not accepting his request. I personally went there and made arrangements immediately after asking my principal secretary. I remember whenever he met, he used to mention it. Although it was not such a big deal, but it was his personality that if anyone cooperated at some level, he would never forget it. In Uttar Pradesh, when I was a minister in the Public Works Department, once during the budget speech in the House, a Samajwadi Party MLA spoke some rude words about me which were far from the truth. I too had resigned then for the sake of my reputation. I remember Mulayam Singh ji called me immediately and said that I should not have resigned directly on this matter. He also reprimanded the MLA of his party in strong words. He publicly said that talking like this about Kalraj ji is against the dignity of a chaste person like him.

He was very much above party politics and for people who were close to him, he would not think twice before doing anything, even if it was beyond the party line. There are many other such incidents with him in which I gave him some advice politically and he accepted it without thinking. Rather, at times he used to discuss with me, even when he had to make some big decisions under his own team. I remember that he never even forgot my birthday! Wherever I would have been, but he would not take rest until he found me on the phone and congratulated me. I wonder, where is the person who maintains such relationships and understands the dignity of relationships! I also accept that when he was the Chief Minister, whenever he was told any kind of work, he did it immediately and he accepted my opinion, my words even at such levels which no one can think of. He was deeply interested in the development of villages and in the upliftment of the poor. Along with the expansion of basic facilities in the villages, he was also closely engrossed with the traditional life there. Personally, his relations with the people were so deep that even if his party leaders joined any party later, they never broke ties with him. So many memories and anecdotes of him are still flashing in my mind at this time. I believe that the intimacy and affinity that remained with him is an invaluable asset of my life. His demise has left a void which can never be filled. His merging into infinity means going away of a person who has followed the principles and dignity of relationships. His absence is a personal void that will never be filled.

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL

KALRAJ MISHRA GOVERNOR, RAJASTHAN

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