Kalyan Singh to Jaswant Singh to Uma Bharti: shining, fadinghttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/kalyan-singh-to-jaswant-singh-to-uma-bharti-shining-fading/

Kalyan Singh to Jaswant Singh to Uma Bharti: shining, fading

The BJP has seen several formidable leaders fade after falling out with the top leadership.

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Kalyan Singh, whose image touched a new height within the Sangh Parivar after the Babri Masjid was brought down.

When BJP struck a conciliatory note in response to the joint statement by L K Advani and other senior leaders on Tuesday, it made an exception. The party has seen several formidable leaders fade after falling out with the top leadership.

Take for instance Kalyan Singh, whose image touched a new height within the Sangh Parivar after the Babri Masjid was brought down. He lost the chief ministership, but his position went a notch up in the ideological brotherhood after he owned responsibility for the demolition. He was even seen as a potential BJP president or even prime ministerial candidate material.

But soon he got into a confrontation with then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999. What made him unpopular among the Uttar Pradesh leaders was his proximity to one of his ministers, Kusum Rai, and an autocratic style of functioning. As a revolt followed, the party leadership replaced him with Ram Prakash Gupta.

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Kalyan Singh retaliated by fielding his own candidates in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, leading to a drop in the BJP tally to 29 seats, against 57 a year before. After he openly criticised Vajpayee, the BJP expelled him. He formed the Rashtriya Kranti Party. Although he ensured that the BJP gradually got marginalised, he ended up being just a leader of his own Lodh Rajput community.

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Later he patched up with Vajpayee and returned to the BJP ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. But he realised that his stock with the rank and file had gone down. Nobody respected him the way they used to. He left the party a second time before 2009 polls, went to the Mulayam camp but left him too to form the Jan Kranti Party in 2010. He folded it up in 2013 and returned to the BJP, this time for good. The BJP-led government appointed him as the Governor of Rajasthan in 2014.

Another such leader was Uma Bharti. Once a fire-spewing Hindutva leader, she lost patience after she had to resign following an issue of arrest warrants in August 2004 in connection with the 1994 Hubli riots. She targeted Advani during a meeting at the BJP headquarters, which was mysteriously telecast live.

This led to her suspension from the BJP, but the party revoked it after a few months. She renewed her rebellious stance against the BJP high command, insisting that she be brought back back as the MP chief minister in place of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. She was finally expelled from the party.

Assuming that she was more popular than anyone else in MP, she floated her own Bharatiya Janshakti Party in 2006. The myth ended in the 2008 assembly elections — her party won only six out of the 230 seats. Soon her senior party colleagues started deserting her.

Her future bleak, she returned to the BJP in June 2011. But the party made her return conditional to two points — she would shift to UP and keep out of the MP politics.

Then there is Jaswant Singh. He had everything going for him in the BJP, having been a senior minister in the Vajpayee cabinet with important portfolios. He was also Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2009 and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission between 1998 and 1999. When the BJP had a tie-up with Gorkha leaders and was in a position to get anyone elected from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, it picked him.

However, Singh chose to write a book, which came out in August 2009. The book, Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence, while praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah, sought to blame the policy of Jawaharlal Nehru for the Partition.

The BJP expelled him from the party and had him removed as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. Although Advani brought him back into the fold later, the journey downhill continued when he was denied a ticket from the Barmer-Jaisalmer seat in 2014. He contested as an Independent and lost.