Kalyan’s speech, his first from a BJP stage since 2009, unofficially marked the end of the former UP chief minister’s four-year separation from the BJP, which even saw him launch the Jan Kranti Party, whose merger with BJP was announced by Kalyan’s son Rajbir on Monday.
“My formal return is only a technicality away. I would be a BJP man again. And what greater joy for me than to return to a party, in whose flag I wish my body be draped on my final journey after I die,” said Kalyan, choking with emotion.
Kalyan also came with a recipe for BJP revival in UP. “One night in villages every week. If we can do that, we would have won half the battle,” he advised the BJP leaders from a stage that had party chief Nitin Gadkari, MM Joshi, Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharti.
Perhaps aware that Narendra Modi was the man of the moment within the BJP, Kalyan indulged in some discreet minority bashing. “Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde says BJP and RSS are terror outfits. He should be admitted to a good lunatic asylum. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party are shielding terrorists for poll gains. We are not against Muslims. We are against Muslim appeasement,” he said.