Lucknow (IANS) Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda on Saturday made a fervent pitch for opposition unity and said that time had come for all like-minded parties to come together and ensure the defeat of communal forces.
Speaking at the silver jubilee function of the Samajwadi Party (SP) here, the former Prime Minister said all secular forces should rally behind SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Referring to his tenure as Prime Minister when Mulayam was the Union Defence Minister, Deve Gowda said not a single incident was reported at the Indo-Pak border during those days. Even Jammu and Kashmir was peaceful and not once was section 144 clamped down there, he pointed out, referring to the months of prohibitory orders in the Kashmir Valley at present.
Exhorting the leaders of the SP and its supporters to ensure that their party always remained strong in Uttar Pradesh, the senior Socialist leader said if such a thing happens, then opposition unity will get a boost.
Taking a dig at the BJP government at the Centre, he said that a party which is enjoying power at the Centre by taking the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was actually working contrary to the great leader’s character.
“Patel merged all states into one united country while the BJP was out to divide states and its people,” he said. Seeking unity among opposition parties under the leadership of Mulayam Singh, he said the opposition should come together at the platform to catch the train they missed in 1997.
He was apparently referring to the time when differences within the Janata Dal family led to their downfall and fragmentation.