Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh looks set to play a major role in the Lok Sabha elections for the BJP with the party deciding to invite him as chief guest to address its Kanpur rally Saturday.
The Kanpur rally is the first public meeting of partys prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in UP that will be followed by eight more rallies till December. All rallies but one in Lucknow have been named Vijay Shankhnad rally.
On Tuesday,the party had announced to have Modi and its national president Rajnath Singh as speakers at the rally. A day later,Kalyans name was also included among the speakers.
Party spokesperson Dr Chandra Mohan said: Kalyan Singh will address the Kanpur rally as chief guest along with Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh.
Another speaker in the rally would be party state president Laxmikant Bajpai.
Modis confidant and state in-charge Amit Shah and other leaders from the state would be present on the dais but only as hosts.
A leader said the party wants to cash in on Kalyans pro-Hindutva image and OBC leader in the Lok Sabha elections.
Kalyan twice headed BJP governments in the state and twice parted ways with the party. In January this year,he merged his Jan Kranti Party (JKP) with the BJP; his son,Rajveer Singh,is BJP state vice-president at present.
Kalyan had left the BJP for the first time in December 1999 after differences with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He returned to BJP in 2004 and contested successfully from Bulandshahr in Lok Sabha elections. He left BJP again in 2009 due to differences over distribution of party tickets for the Lok Sabha elections.
He joined hands with the Samajwadi Party but contested as an Independent candidate from Etah and won. However,he parted ways with the party in November 2009 and formed JKP.
Kalyans commitment to Hindutva could help revive the BJPs fortunes in the state. That was the reason party wanted him back and he merged his JKP in BJP earlier this year, said a senior BJP leader.
During his first visit to Lucknow in June,Amit Shah had paid a visit to Kalyan at his residence.