Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 06, Dated February 13, 2010
Was An Inner
MOHAN SINGH, THE NEW SAMAJWADI
PARTY GENERAL SECRETARY, IS A CHIP
OFF THE SOCIALIST BLOCK, SAYS
|Photo: SHAILENDRA PANDEY
SIXTY-FIVE-YEAR OLD Mohan Singh is one of those
leaders who never moved out of the Socialist framework.
His appointment as general secretary and
spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party to replace
Amar Singh is seen by him as a vindication of the politics that
led him through a varied path, from jail to Lok Sabha MP.
Singh has lost little time in bringing back shades of his Allahabad
University days when as the students’ union president in
1968-69 he led many an agitation and joined Jayaprakash
Narayan’s movement along with another firebrand student and
friend, Janeshwar Mishra. Shooting from the hip, he has taken
on former Mulayam Singh crony Amar Singh. He told
TEHELKA: “In the socialist movement, he (Amar Singh) was a
conspiracy hatched by big business to damage the movement.
He was the inner contradiction that could not exist without
being exposed, and he has been exposed.” He adds quickly: “The
movement has been damaged only slightly and will recover
soon.” The new general secretary adds that the socialists refused
to accept Amar Singh and hastened his exit from the party.
Twenty months in jail during the Emergency did not kill
Singh’s quiet commitment to socialism as he was quite familiar
with life within. As a student leader he had been imprisoned
for leading students to occupy Jawaharlal Nehru’s Anand
Bhawan in Allahabad. He was jailed in 1973, before the Emergency,
for participating in a satyagraha with Madhu Limaye.
Singh was a forceful leader in the Janata Dal, never hesitating
to speak his mind, but the Amar Singh years in the Samajwadi
Party made him silent and forced him to confine himself to his
home state Uttar Pradesh. But he remains well respected in
the party, being seen as “educated and honest”.
The resignation, reflected in silence, has turned into euphoria
with Samajwadi chieftain Mulayam Singh’s decision to
bring in Mohan Singh as a direct replacement for Amar Singh.
The veteran socialist is back in the saddle and made it clear
that he would now be working not just for the revival of the
Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, but also a revival of the socialist
movement, by getting all former colleagues together.
Asked if he was seeking unity of Janata Dal (S), Janata Dal (U)
and other parties, he says: “All samajwadis will come together.
All those who had been sitting at home discouraged and disappointed
will be involved and the samajwadis will together
launch a new struggle against price rise.”
Articulate as always, Singh points out that this was not the
first time that the socialist movement had been divided. The
“big obstacle” in the way of unity now, he says, is that the BJP
has allied with many socialist parties and that these were in
power in states. The reference was clearly to Bihar Chief Minister
Nitish Kumar, who the Left and socialists are keen to wean
away from the BJP. Singh is positive that “unity” will happen.
Janeshwar Mishra’s condolence meeting did give a slight
indication of what Singh, who conducted the proceedings, is
aiming for: Left and socialist unity, now that the biggest hurdle,
Amar Singh, has been removed.