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Kalyan Singh praises Priyanka
Tara Shankar Sahay & Onkar Singh in New Delhi |
April 28, 2003 15:02 IST
Kalyan Singh, Rashtriya Kranti Party chief and the former blue-eyed boy of the Bharatiya Janata Party, seems to have taken a sudden liking to the Congress party.
On Monday in a chat with rediff.com Singh said that Priyanka Vadra's involvement in politics was bound to boost the political prospects of the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. Interestingly just before the chat Kalyan Singh had a long meeting with Congress Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Rajeev Shukla.
He said Priyanka's presence in the state had energised the Congress activists indicating that the party had the potential to emerge out of its 'present low depth'.
Asked if his sudden love for the Congress was a precursor to joining the party, Singh ruled out the option of joining the Congress. "There is no question of my joining the Congress, I deny any media report in this context," he said. Admitting that there was 'some talk' about joining the BJP, Singh said, "But it is my decision not to return to it."
Asked about media reports about his recent talks with 'intermediaries' of the BJP, he said, "I recently met BJP members Dinanath Mishra, Balbir Punj and S Gurumurthy in Lucknow and our talks were confidential. I don't intend to reveal what transpired." Prodded to reveal the details of the conversation, Singh said, "It was agreed that that whatever we discuss should not be divulged."
Singh contended the present juncture was an era of coalition politics and would last for at least another decade. The Congress would have to make alliances with other parties because it could not come to power on its own. "Now with whom it (Congress) wants to make alliances is its choice. But it cannot shun away from this reality," he said.
Singh also seems to have not forgotten the humiliation heaped on by him by the BJP and traced the problems confronting the BJP to his unceremonious exit. "The day the BJP had turned me out of the party, I had commented that by insulting me and throwing me out, it had invited its demise in the state. Nobody paid much attention to my statement, but during the last assembly election its echo was felt."
"The BJP tally plummeted from 176 to 88 and now it has further come down to 87 with the BJP also losing Rajnath Singh's Haidergarh seat. I formed my RKP and 345 of my party candidates fought the polls and got four per cent votes. Even Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav conceded that because of my party, his party lost 23 seats," he added.
Singh, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had to leave the BJP after being expelled from its primary membership for six years following irreconcilable differences with the party leadership, especially Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In fact Vajpayee was instrumental in scuttling Kalyan Singh's prospects of becoming the chief minister the second time around and a miffed Singh was left with no option but to leave the BJP.
The erosion of the BJP's political base in Uttar Pradesh coupled with the rising graph and consolidation of Chief Minister Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party in the state has constrained some party leaders to look towards Singh. They hope he can be made to return and counter the BSP with his political clout in some areas.
But at the official level, BJP denies any efforts to rope in Singh. "No, there is no proposal to have him back in our party," party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. The statement, which came after Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani said there was no danger to the BJP-BSP coalition in Uttar Pradesh, only highlights the split between the central and the state leadership on the issue of Kalyan Singh.
The state leadership is extremely peeved with Mayawati for allegedly urging her party members to eschew Hinduism and embrace Buddhism to defend themselves from the 'atrocities of upper-caste Hindus'. Former UP chief minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh is among those who want to 'discipline' Mayawati for her alleged utterances. A section of the state unit of the BJP remains sympathetic to Singh as he belongs to the Lodh Rajput community. This section feels that he will be able to give a fitting reply to Mayawati's tirade against the upper-caste Hindus, especially the Thakurs.
But seasoned political observers said the only thing that prevents the two parties from parting ways is the realisation that they cannot afford to fight next year's election on their own.