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Home / India News / Back in BJP, ex-Guv Kalyan Singh strikes with a question on Ram Temple

Back in BJP, ex-Guv Kalyan Singh strikes with a question on Ram Temple

Kalyan Singh signed the membership form to join the BJP at an event hours after ex-union minister Kalraj Mishra succeeded him as Rajasthan governor.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2019 17:49 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Former Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh being garlanded by party workers as he joined BJP in the presence of State President Swantra Dev Singh, at the party office in Lucknow on Monday. (ANI Photo)
Former Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh being garlanded by party workers as he joined BJP in the presence of State President Swantra Dev Singh, at the party office in Lucknow on Monday. (ANI Photo)

Former Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh formally rejoined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, signalling the return of the BJP’s backward face to active politics in his home state Uttar Pradesh.

Kalyan Singh signed the membership form to join the BJP at an event hours after ex-union minister Kalraj Mishra succeeded him as Rajasthan governor.His son Rajveer Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Etah, and grandson Sandeep Singh, minister of state for finance, were also present at the party office.

Kalyan Singh was Rajasthan’s first governor in five decades to complete his five-year-term in the gubernatorial office.

“I am not retiring from politics,” he told reporters soon after. Singh asserted that retiring from politics to him implied quitting public service too, something that he isn’t ready to do yet. But Kalyan Singh clarified that he wasn’t going back to electoral politics. “I have contested lots of elections. I don’t want to contest anymore,” he said.

Kalyan Singh, who has twice been chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has been the backward face of the BJP, which he has left twice following differences with the party leadership.

The return of the 87-year-old politician to Uttar Pradesh’s politics comes at a time the Ayodhya land title dispute in the Supreme Court is in its last lap. A five-judge bench of the top court has been holding daily hearings to decide the Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute. A verdict in the emotive and politically sensitive case is expected before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s term ends in November.

Kalyan Singh, who has twice been chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has been the backward face of the BJP, which he has left twice following differences with the party leadership.

Despite his advancing age, Kalyan Singh, a Lodh (OBC), whose son Rajveer is a Lok Sabha MP and grandson Sandeep, a minister in Yogi Adityanath government, is still considered to be key backward leader whose name is still respected within his community, a BJP leader said.

But it has been his association with the temple movement that helped raise his stature within his party and outside.

Kalyan Singh was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when Babri mosque was pulled down on 6 December 1992. His government, along with three other BJP governments, was subsequently dismissed.

Asked about the Ayodhya temple, Kalyan Singh said he wanted a Ram temple in Ayodhya “like millions of Hindus” and quickly turned his response into a question about the stand of other parties.

“I would like all political parties to clear their stand on the issue. Each party must explicitly state if they are in favour of a temple or not,” he said.

Kalyan Singh was named as one of the accused in the Babri demolition conspiracy case that was investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. When the case was revived in April 2017 on the Supreme Court’s orders, he was left out due to the constitutional immunity for governors from standing trial.

Kalyan Singh’s exit from Rajasthan’s Raj Bhavan could lead to the charges against him being reinstated.

His aides, however, said that it does not bother the ageing stalwart or the BJP much.

“He has always been a Ram bhakt. He did willingly go to jail on the issue, remember? Even as governor he advocated the temple cause. So losing his immunity and being named for criminal conspiracy would not bother him or any of us,” said Kumar Lodhi, a die-hard supporter of Kalyan Singh.