Even as Uma Bharti has rejoined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh — a prominent OBC Lodh leader from western Uttar Pradesh and estranged BJP stalwart — says that he will not return to the party, which, he claims, deceived him.
“BJP is a deceitful (dhokhebaaz) party. It deceived me,” Singh told Hindustan Times. “It has also left Hindutva, to which I remain firmly committed.”
With Bharti’s return, there are feverish speculations that Kalyan Singh may follow suit as the BJP seeks to embrace its estranged leaders to improve its electoral prospects.
He also claimed Uma Bharti's return would not help the BJP: “Uma will not do anything. When she could not do anything in her own state Madhya Pradesh and her candidates lost their security deposits, what can she do in Uttar Pradesh?”
He said that his Jana Kranti Party (JKP) would go it alone in Uttar Pradesh and field candidates against all parties, including the BJP. Its agenda, he added, would include Hindutva, the Ram temple at Ayodhya, and the OBC quota within the women's reservation Bill.
“All Lodhs are backing my party,” he said. “There is going to be no division of Lodh votes because of Uma Bharti.”
The Lodhs have pockets of influence in the Bundelkhand districts of UP and in parts of western UP.
A BJP leader said that there had been talks between the BJP and Kalyan Singh, particularly at the UP state BJP level. However, he added, “Now that Bharti is back, there is no point in his returning.”
Another view is that having both would further cement the Lodh vote.
Kalyan Singh refused comment on whether the BJP had contacted him, adding he was not in touch with Uma Bharti, too, for quite some time.
About his association with the RSS, he said: “I have neither good nor bad relations with the Sangh.”
With her, hope returns to BJP
Lucknow: The homecoming of Uma Bharti has brought the zing back in the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit ahead of next year's assembly elections — at least for the time being.
Bharti is a Lodh leader and is expected to hold sway in the state’s large backward population and the Bundelkhand region.
But her biggest asset, say some workers, is her association with the party’s hardline Hindutva ideology — particularly the Ram temple movement of the 1990s that had helped the BJP come to power in the state and the Centre.
“The saffron-clad Umaji epitomises the temple movement and her induction will boost the temple cause too,” said a worker.
The party’s stock has nosedived in state over the past decade or so. From 174 legislators in 1996, it was left with 88 legislators in 2002 and just 51 in 2007. Uttar Pradesh’s assembly has 403 seats. Bharti was expelled from the BJP in December 2005. She will now lead the BJP’s campaign in the 2012 UP elections. htc