Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh says time has taught him and the BJP the futility of staying apart.
Expectedly, he talks of turning the political tide in UP in BJP's favor, once he is 'in' but adds that ultimately it would up to the BJP to decide how to make the "best use of his services."
He says, the thought that a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya would be constructed one day continues to excite him as much as he gets depressed by appeasement politics in UP.
Awaiting his third return to the BJP, the poster boy of the temple movement is expecting to celebrate Diwali "at home" provided his meeting with party chief Nitin Gadkari takes place by then.
Sitting in his 2 Mall Avenue residence in Lucknow, Kalyan Singh takes some queries. He also leaves some, saying that their (queries) answers would have to wait for a while.
Q: What's different about your third homecoming-to-be?
A: Four things. The workers of Jan Kranti Party (JKP) are excited. The BJP cadre is excited. The public appears to be in favour of the move. The media too isn't reading negative. Positive vibes are in the air.
Q: After consistently maintaining since 2009, when you left the BJP for the second time, that you won't return, what ultimately made you reconsider your decision?
A: The thought that Kalyan Singh and the BJP require each other. This thought, this realisation has brought about the change in my approach.
Q: But who made the change possible?
A: Waqt (time). It's time that teaches you so many things. Just as I learnt the need to be with the BJP, the BJP too realised the need to be with me. That's how it has happened. That's why I said that from BJP leaders and workers to JKP cadre everyone is backing the decision.
Q: What's the 'deal' like? You were the national vice president of the party when you left the BJP in 2009. Now again there are talks of you getting the same post. You must have discussed these things with the BJP leadership already?
A: No, I haven't. I have decided to give myself to the BJP. Let them decide how they want to make use of me.
Q: BJP has 10 Lok Sabha members from UP at present? How many more can you add to the party's kitty from the state?
A: If everything falls in place, then the party can have 40 MPs from UP in the next general elections. See, things are looking favourable for the BJP. One just needs to seize the opportunity. The BJP lost the 2012 assembly polls because it couldn't position itself as an alternative. The SP won by default.
Q: You are joining the BJP around the time when it gets busy deciding candidates for Lok Sabha polls. Would you play a role in ticket distribution of candidates from UP?
A: I think I would be consulted. But as you know such decisions are taken collectively in the BJP. It's not an individual decision.
Q: How do you rate BJP chances in UP in 2017?
A: I think our effort would be to position the BJP as an alternative in UP by then. There is the floating 5% to 10% voters who could be galvanised in favour of the BJP.
Q: But what guarantee is that by that time Kalyan Singh won't get angry again and leave the BJP?
A: I made it clear at the beginning that I have realised that if the BJP made mistakes, so did I. Both of us have learnt from the past and decided to move ahead. This time of course, I am not going to make the same mistake (of leaving the party).
Q: So are we going to see a subdued Kalyan Singh this time? Are you making an effort to change?
A: It isn't really easy or advisable to change one's basic nature. So I won't attempt that. I would continue to be what I have always been. A leader with tewar (temper). That's how I am known. But, having said that let me also add that one also evolves with time.
Q: You were a poster boy of the temple movement. But there aren't many takers for temple politics now. So what does the BJP do now - move on with time and change or return to its old Hindutva rhetoric?
A: See I am not in favor of appeasement politics. Everyone must get justice, irrespective of one's caste or religion. But look at what Samajwadi Party is doing - giving financial help to Muslim girls alone. Look at what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said sometime back: about Muslims having the first right on country's resources. I don't think these acts can be justified. As regards Ram temple, we remain committed to the cause. The thought of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya continues to excite me. It would come true one day.
Q: When and where are you going to re-join BJP?
A: When would be decided after meeting the party chief Nitin Gadkari. As regards where, I guess it could be Lucknow.