Former BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s move to make himself acceptable to Muslims by aligning with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh received a big jolt on Saturday.
Two of Mulayam’s closest associates — RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Mulayam’s comrade-in-arms Azam Khan — lambasted Kalyan for his role in the Babri mosque demolition on December 6, 1992, when he was chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Kalyan, who shared the platform with Mulayam at a series of election rallies in Mainpuri, Etah and Bulandshar, earlier claimed: “It (the demolition of Babri mosque) was a conspiracy of the BJP, and I was kept in dark (by the top BJP leadership).”
Kalyan, who is contesting as an SP-supported candidate from Etah, said the BJP was opposed to both Muslims and the backward classes, completely forgetting his oft-repeated quotes after the Babri demolition — “I take full responsibility of what has happened in Ayodhya”.
Responding to Kalyan’s latest claim, SP leader Mohammad Azam Khan simply said: “It is a plain lie.”
Stressing that Kalyan had been misleading the people, Khan said, “Kalyan might have left the BJP, but not the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.”
Lalu also jumped into the fray, branding Kalyan a “convict” in the Babri case. He questioned Kalyan’s role as a star campaigner for SP, which is contesting the elections in alliance with the RJD.
On Friday, Kalyan said at an election rally that he had already “dug a grave” for the BJP and Muslims should “put soil to fill it”, but Prasad reacted, “He (Kalyan) is a convict in the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He is not a member of the SP.”
Mulayam, who so far avoided sharing a platform with Kalyan, not only sought vote for him in Etah on Saturday, but also took him to his own constituency, Mainpuri.
While Mainpuri has 47.3 per cent (6.50 lakh) backward class votes, including one lakh Lodh Rajputs of Kalyan Singh caste, Etah has 39.7 per cent (five lakh) backward caste voters, including 1.60 lakh Lodh Rajputs.
(With agency inputs from Patna)