Kalyan torn between son and aide,SP offers junior a ticket

As he engages the BJP leadership,former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh has to contend with a battle at home — between his son Rajvir Singh and his close associate Kusum Rai...

Pradeep Kaushal & Alka Pandenew Delhi/lucknow | Published:January 20, 2009 3:02 am

As he engages the BJP leadership,former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh has to contend with a battle at home — between his son Rajvir Singh and his close associate Kusum Rai. Sources say a Rajya Sabha ticket for Rai—whom Kalyan chose above Rajvir— has set the son on the warpath with the father.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has rushed to fish in troubled waters. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters today that Rajvir is welcome to contest on an SP ticket “if he so desires.”

“He has not expressed his willingness so far,” Yadav added.

Mulayam’s public offer to Rajvir came a day after he met Kalyan Singh at a house in east Delhi’s Preet Vihar. Mulayam denied the meeting had taken place,but his remarks indicated a forward movement on the understanding between Rajvir and SP.

The BJP has finalized Kalyan’s name for the Etah Lok Sabha seat. But according to sources in the SP,he may opt out,leaving Rajvir or his wife to contest the seat. It is learnt his latest demand is for BJP tickets to 14 of his supporters.

A meeting of senior BJP leaders,however,resolved today it was “thus far and no further” with Kalyan—though there would be no public slanging match with the rebellious party vice-president. Kalyan returned to Lucknow from the Capital today,and is expected to announce his next course of action tomorrow.

Sources said Rajvir has been desperate for attention ever since he lost the election for the Dibai assembly seat. However,Kalyan,instead of rehabilitating his son,appeared more interested in pressing for a Rajya Sabha berth for Rai. A reluctant BJP leadership gave in to the demand after being given to understand that in return,Kalyan would accept any list of Lok Sabha candidates “signed by (party president) Rajnath Singh”.

Kalyan wants to ‘launch’ Rajvir from either Etah or Kannauj. The latter seat,after delimitation,has over 2.5 lakh Lodh votes,the community to which Kalyan belongs.

For the SP,parting with Kannauj will not be difficult: it has already announced the candidature of Kannauj MP and Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav from two places,Kannauj and Ferozabad.

In return for helping launch Rajvir,Mulayam hopes to get the support of the Lodh community. About 20 Lok Sabha seats in UP have between 50,000 and 1.5 lakh Lodh votes.

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