Following its dismal performance in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) by-polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has started distancing itself from former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalyan Singh.
The 77-year-old former BJP chief minister now stands isolated.
“He (Kalyan) is not in the Samajwadi Party. I repeat he is not,” said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav (69) in Lucknow on Saturday. “Nor will he ever be in the party, even if he wants.”
The SP did not bag a single assembly or Lok Sabha seat of the 16 where by-polls were held in August and November.
The party even lost the Firozabad Lok Sabha seat, an SP bastion: Congress' Raj Babbar defeated Mulayam's daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav in the by-election by around 85,000 votes.
Kalyan was chief minister when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992. But since he joined hands with the SP, he has taken “moral responsibility” for the demolition.
However, many prominent Muslim clerics and leaders in UP have said they would never forgive the former BJP leader.
The ‘Kalyan’ factor also triggered dissension in the party — the biggest loss was the falling out of Azam Khan, one of the party founders.
However, when asked if the Kalyan factor was responsible for the damage the SP had suffered, Mulayam said: “It is the friendship with the Congress that has damaged us.”
When asked how Kalyan participated in the SP’s national convention in Agra if he was not associated with the party, Mulayam replied: “What could we do? Anyone can come to a convention.”
Mulayam said he would lead the next Uttar Pradesh government, that too with full majority. “Put me on the record saying it won’t be the Congress, but us who will form the majority government in the state,” he said.
He said political pundits and journalists had often written the obituary of the SP, but the party had sprung back each time. “Just wait and watch. UP elections are far — in 2012,” he said. “The tables will turn by then.”