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November 9, 1999
Kalyan climbs down after initial defiance
Kalyan Singh has taken his removal as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh as a fait accompli.
He told a press conference in Ayodhya today that he already knew that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had made up his mind to replace him and he was only waiting for a call from the party high command.
He said he would not go to the extent of a trial of strength despite being supported by a majority of party legislators.
Singh said he did not know why he was being removed but he would not do any more damage to the party by testing his strength in the Bharatiya Janata Party legislature group.
He claimed that barring 25-30 legislators, he enjoyed the support of all (150 legislators), but, he said, he had decided against making use of this support to stay in power.
In a sarcastic tone, Singh said that he had not proposed any name for his successor but left it to the will of the party high command.
He said the party should review all those decisions and issues that led to its poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. ''The party sought vote in the name of Atalji in this election but it could not exceed its tally of 1998 elections,'' he said.
He said any review of the party organisation should include the working of the government and the party both. The BJP discarded those very issues (temple, Article 370 and common civil code) that had given the party its identity, he added.
When asked why Vajpayee wanted to remove him, he retorted ''ask him not me.'' In reply to another question, he said he was not trying to create any difficulties for the government by raking up the Ayodhya issue.
Singh reiterated that he would neither go to the Centre nor accept any post in the party. ''I am an elected legislator not a nominated one,'' he pointed out.
He did not comment when asked if he was removed because of the ''ego'' of some senior leader but added that ''this in itself was a meaningful comment.''
He said that he was not in favour of the dissolution of the Vidhan Sabha despite these developments and asserted that the House will complete its term.
Earlier in the day, Singh had hinted that he would not take lying down the BJP's leadership's decision to replace him.
Addressing a gathering of sants in Ayodhya, a defiant Singh read out a couplet giving an indication of things to come: '' Sabr aur sahne ki seema hoti hai aur bandh too-ta hai dheeraj ka, jab ati hoti hai, ati hone par pralay aur parivartan hota hai, tab nai sarashti ka sarjan hota hai '' (there is a limit to patience and tolerance, heavens break loose when that limit is crossed. There is a deluge paving way for a new dispensation).
Singh today said the BJP high command's decision to give up the Ram temple issue had cost the party dear in UP.
In an aggressive mood after the announcement that senior BJP leader Ram Prakash Gupta would replace him as chief minister of the state, Singh said his opposition to the Ayodhya issue being put in cold storage had earned him the wrath of the party leadership.
Singh said that the BJP's ascendancy was due to its taking up the temple issue. The party high command should analyse the effects of giving up the temple issue on the people.
Without naming Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh said he should visit Ayodhya, the city of Ram.
''In this age of struggle for power, one road leads to Delhi and the other to Ayodhya, and I thought it better to take the road to Ayodhya to the 'darbar' of Lord Ram,'' Singh said.
Singh said he had visited Ayodhya after becoming chief minister for the first time and he was now again in Ayodhya but at a time when the struggle for power was on.
The chief minister had darshan at Ramjanambhumi and Hanuman Garhi.
Meanwhile, the BJP's allies in UP are not happy with the decision to replace Kalyan Singh with Ram Prakash Gupta. The Loktantrik Congress leader Naresh Agarwal and the Jantantrik Bahujan Samaj Party leaders issued statements saying they were not consulted on the issue. Such an approach on the part of the BJP's central leadership, they warned, was not conducive to strengthening relations between the coalition partners.
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