India

Kalyan Singh to join BJP on Sunday

Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh who is known for his hardliner Hindutva stance on Saturday returned to the Bharatiya Janata Party and will formally join the party at its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally in Lucknow on Sunday.

Mr. Singh, independent MP from Etah, resigned from the Lok Sabha. He said the Congress' attempt to make the general elections a "fight between Secularism and Communalism had failed."

He credited his return to a "Modi wave" in the country and alluded it to a free running "Ashmavedha horse." As voting day nears, "this wave would transform into a toofan (storm)," he told reporters at his residence here. Asked if he was moved by 'Mission Modi' or 'Mission Mandir,' Mr. Singh who was an RSS worker responded: "Ram Mandir is in the agenda of every Hindu."

The BJP hopes to cash in on Mr. Singh's pro-Hindutva image but also his credentials as a backward caste Lodh in a bid to replicate its spectacular performance in 1998 when it secured 57 out of 80 seats in UP. However, analysts feel Mr. Singh's presence in the state has diminished over the years. While the Lodhs represent only 2 percent of the State's population, they are concentrated and form a strong votebank in dozen odd seats in western UP and Bundelkhand.

When questioned on the timing of his return to the saffron fold, he said it was due to fear of disqualification as an MP, as the Jan Kranti Party formed by him after he quit the BJP for the second time during the 2009 Lok Sabha electons merged with the BJP last January.

However, his entry into the BJP was considered a mere formality before the general elections as he shared the dias with Mr. Modi during his rallies in UP starting in Kanpur last October. "I have joined as a worker and will perform whatever duty I am given. I have not joined for any weightage," he said while informing that he had sought nomination from the same seat, Etah.

Dismissing the Third Front, he termed it a "Failed Front," which was "formed before every election" but only to die soon and which had "no clear policy or leader who was acceptable to all." Mr. Singh left the BJP for the first time in 1999 after his verbal attacks on then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before returning to the saffron fold in 2004 and contested successfully from Bulandshahr.

In 2009, he left the BJP again due to differences over distribution of party tickets for the Lok Sabha elections and joined hands with the SP. He soon parted ways with Mulayam Singh.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 9:02:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kalyan-singh-to-join-bjp-on-sunday/article5740309.ece