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Wish to be wrapped in BJP flag when I die: Kalyan Singh

By Sharat Pradhan
January 21, 2013 20:05 IST
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A melodramatic event marked Kalyan Singh's formal return to the BJP, as he merged his Rashtriya Kranti Party with the BJP, Sharat Pradhan reports

It was Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kalyan Singh's turn to get emotional over his return to his parent party on Monday. On Sunday, the Congress too had a melodramatic session at the party's 'Chintan Shivir' in Jaipur after a "touching" speech by the party's new vice president Rahul Gandhi.  

Even though this was the second time that Singh was staging a comeback to the BJP,  which he had earlier despised and condemned, the 80-year-old 'Hindutva' mascot was yet again ushered back home in the hope that he would use some magic wand to put the BJP back on the track in the country's most populous state.                                                                                                                        

The much-awaited event came with a formal merger of Kalyan Singh-floated Rashtriya Kranti Party with the BJP which was described as 'Atal-shankhnad' rally at the Jhulelal park on the banks of the river Gomati in Lucknow.

Besides Kalyan Singh's homecoming, the rally came in handy for the BJP leadership to train its guns on senior Congress leader and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde who had accused the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of "holding terrorist camps". Virtually sounding a battle cry against the Congress,  party president Nitin Gadkari  declared, "we will stage a country-wide demonstration on January 24 against the Union home minister's anti-RSS remark  with one slogan -- Hindu bhagwe ka yeh apman , nahin  sahega Hindustan" (such insult to the Hindu flag will not be tolerated by India) .

The five-hour long rally was packed with top BJP leaders including former party president Murli Manohar Joshi, Raj Nath Singh , Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and incumbent party president Nitin Gadkari, who talked a lot about the "good old days" they had spent with Kalyan Singh in the party. Kalyan's close confidante Kusum Rai, whose proximity to him gave rise to controversies that led to his exit from the party, was also present on the dais.

The melodrama touched its peak when Kalyan Singh said, "I have returned to the BJP because my ultimate wish is to get wrapped in a BJP flag when I die."  He sounded much like Rahul Gandhi when he went on to declare, "I will now devote the rest of my life to the BJP."

Interestingly, he went on to add, "However, because of technical reasons I am not joining the BJP right now." Elaborating further, he said, "If I join the BJP, I would have to quit my Lok Sabha membership, which would necessitate a byelection at a time when the next general election is not far away."

Without expressing any kind of regret for all his outbursts against the BJP as well as its top leadership during his days of exile, he emphasised on devoting all his energies in strengthening the BJP.

He pushed his son Rajvir Singh ahead to announce the merger of their political outfit with the BJP.

Evidently, the whole move of his homecoming was designed to safeguard the political career of his son, who had failed to make a mark even in their own Lodhi caste dominated belt of Western UP.

Both father and son had once also joined hands with BJP's arch political foe Samajwadi Party. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav however decided to part ways with them.

Ironically, Raj Nath Singh, who had left no stone unturned to flay Kalyan after the latter went about blasting top BJP leaders including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, made it a point to shower praise on Kalyan Singh. "UP has not seen a better chief minister than Kalyan Singh", he said.

Describing Kalyan as "father like", Uma Bharti told the gathering, "I owe a lot to Kalyan Singhji from whom I learnt my politics and could even claim to have more right over him than his son Rajvir."

She also used the occasion to take a jibe at Congress bigwig Rahul Gandhi by adding, "I would like to remind Rahul Gandhi that his claim about having India in the Congress DNA was not true as that DNA would also have some element of Italy in it."

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi , Vinay Katiyar and state party chief Laxmi Shankar Bajpai.

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