Paying tribute to communist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday that the former always kept “communal and casteist” forces at bay and was willing to take along people with diverse views in the fight for social justice.
The PM was speaking at a condolence meeting where he and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat spoke to each other for the first time since the Left-UPA divorce.
Singh said Surjeet was a “true patriot and a great freedom fighter.” He was obviously taking pot shots at the current Left-leadership that joined hands with the BSP and voted on the same side as the BJP in its bid to topple his government in the trust vote.
“He never lost sight that India is a country of great diversity and there was a need for strengthening the unity and diversity of the country. He never did anything to encourage communal forces or promoted casteist feelings,” Singh said.
The PM said there could be differences with “our Left colleaugues” on various issues, but the quest for social justice unites many Indians and Surjeet’s “burning desire” was to “adequately” fight against the “chornic poverty and hunger” which millions of Indians suffer.
“He was aware of the political compulsions of being a backward economy and backward society,” Singh said of leader who passed away last week.