DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday appealed to 37 political parties across the country including the Congress, arch rival AIADMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Left parties and the Trinamool Congress to join the All India Federation for Social Justice to protect the interests of the oppressed people.
Writing to all key parties barring the BJP, Stalin said, "our unique, diverse, multi-cultural federation is under threat of bigotry and religious hegemony." These forces could only be fought if all those who believe in equality, self-respect and social justice came together. It is hence not a question of political gain but "re-establishing the pluralistic identity of our republic, as visualised by our founding fathers," he said.
The DMK chief recalled that he had on Republic Day announced the proposed launch of 'All India Federation for Social Justice' to establish a 'common platform' of all leaders, members of civil society and like-minded individuals and organisations to strive towards achieving the principles of federalism and social justice at the national level.
Social justice as an ideology is simple, 'everything for everyone'. It is the belief that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Only by ensuring this equality of opportunity we can build the egalitarian society visualised by the framers of constitution, he said.
In Tamil Nadu, "every grain of sand speaks of the social justice revolution brought about by Thanthai Periyar, the rationalist who sowed the seeds of social justice in the minds and hearts of the people in all walks of life." It is this 'indomitable philosophy that has formed the bedrock of Tamil society' and shaped the politics during the last eight decades. It is because of "our emphasis on social justice that we have been able to eradicate inequality to a larger extent and develop the state in all spheres."
Citing the 'threat of bigotry and religious hegemony,' he said his party re-affirmed its commitment to battle for social justice 'at every turn.' It was exemplified by the DMK's recent 'politico-legal battle' to obtain 27 per cent OBC reservations in state contributed seats to All India Quota in medical and dental courses across the country. However, reservations are not sufficient to ensure social justice, he said.
At every step, the oppressed people must be 'accorded positive affirmation' to enable them to unshackle centuries of oppression and exclusion from mainstream society. Extraordinary steps should be taken to eradicate gender and caste discrimination and also enable the differently abled to compete in the mainstream.
"We must unite with the same conviction and purpose as we did in order to establish the Mandal Commission. In each state, the oppressed classes are yearning to have the doors of opportunity opened to them."
The federation would be a platform for all to create a roadmap to take forward the battle for social justice in the country and identify the areas in which more could be done and bring about a common minimum programme to be uniformly adopted by all states.
"I therefore make an earnest appeal to you to nominate appropriate individual(s) from your party as representative(s) to this All India Federation for Social Justice. Only together can we bring real and meaningful social justice to the oppressed. At this crucial juncture when repressive forces are challenging the progress made in social justice front over decades, it is vital that all the progressive forces join hands to protect the interests of the oppressed. I look forward to welcoming you as a partner in this initiative."
A DMK release said the invite was sent to Sonia Gandhi (Congress), O Panneerselvam (AIADMK), Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD), Farooq Abdullah (J & K National Conference), Sharad Pawar (NCP), D Raja (CPI), Sitharam Yechury (CPI-M), H D Deve Gowda (JD-Secular), N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Naveen Patnaik (BJD), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Mehbooba Mufti (J & K PDP) and Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena).
Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), K Chandrashekara Rao (TRS), Y S Jaganmohan Reddy (YSRC), Hemanth Soren (JMM), N Rangasamy (NR Congress), Lalan Singh (JD-U), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Mayawati (BSP),Pawan Kalyan (Jana Sena), Velappan Nair (AIFB), Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM), K M Khader Mohideen (IUML) were among others who were requested to join.
Renu Jogi (Janata Congress), Amrainder Singh (Punjab Lok Congress), Sukhbir Singh Badal (SAD), Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti faction), Raj Thackeray (MNS), Om Prakash Choutala (INLD) were invited. Kerala Congress (M) and Tamil Nadu parties, MDMK, PMK, VCK, MMK and KMDK were also urged to join the federation.
With inputs from PTI.