Ever since former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the second time in 2009, talks about his re-entry into the party fold have surfaced from time to time. That familiar buzz is back again; with a renewed focus this time.
The RSS, say sources, is busy scripting Singh’s return to unite ‘likeminded’ forces ahead of the general election, which the saffron cadre believes could be held before 2014. Lending credence to the latest round of ‘will-he, won’t he’ speculations are reports that the anti-Kalyan lobby in the BJP has now dropped its previous inhibitions for the two-time BJP chief minister, who has, in return, stopped hitting out at the BJP and its senior leaders – something which he did with a vengeance during the 2012 UP polls.
Kalyan Singh isn’t revealing much. In fact, when contacted by HT on phone, he denied any move to re-enter the party, of which he was the poster boy during the temple movement of the 90s. “I have convened a meeting of my party (Jan Kranti Party) in the first week of October and I am not aware of any such moves you are referring to,” he said. But Hukum Singh, veteran politician and now the leader of the BJP’s legislative wing, said 'positive' to queries on chances of Kalyan’s return. Another senior BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, earlier opposed to Kalyan’s return, also dropped a similar hint while talking to newspersons in Bulandhshahr recently. “Hamari aur Kalyan Singhji ki jodi abhi bahut gul khilayegi (Our association with Kalyan would work its magic)” he said with a smile.
Even former BJP national chief Rajnath Singh is believed to have cleared the proposal mooted by Kalyan loyalists in the BJP, which, said a BJP source, was another positive indication about saffron cadre’s willingness to embrace their estranged mascot. “All senior party leaders from Lucknow to Delhi are now willing to readmit Singh in keeping with the RSS strategy,” a senior leader said. Singh’s return, say sources, may not be immediate. “It may take time but this time the chances are very real,” the source said.
Kalyan who headed a BJP government in 1992 when Babri mosque was demolished in Ayodhya, became the CM for the second time in 1997 before being forced out of the CM-ship and the party, following differences with with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999. A BJP leader explained that Kalyan, a Lodh by caste, had addressed over 100 rallies across the state during the 2012 UP polls, targeting the saffron brigade.
“He may not have won anything, but he kept his Hindutva focus alive in his public rallies. When he attacked us, despite raising issues similar to the ones we did, he divided the 3% odd Lodhs that are concentrated in nearly 25 assembly and around a dozen Lok Sabha constituencies in west UP. The Lodhs are also scattered across the state. Even in Lucknow and adjoining Mohanlalganj constituencies there would be a small number of Lodh voters who could make a difference in a close contest,” a party leader said.
The BJP, say sources, would also be willing to accept Kalyan’s son Rajvir as well.
“Now a pale shadow of his former self, Kalyan of course, like any father would want his son settled. The BJP is his best bet. And until something very unlikely happens, Kalyan return with ‘family’ is almost certain,” a leader said.