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Kalyan quits BJP,Mulayam says none in UP can match his stature

Dealing the BJP a severe blow ahead of general elections,former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh...

Tarannum Manjul & Virendranath Bhattlucknow |
January 21, 2009 2:51:26 am

Dealing the BJP a severe blow ahead of general elections,former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh,during whose rule the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992,today quit the party,saying he had been “humiliated and insulted” by the BJP leadership.

“I have quit the BJP for life. I was feeling suffocated. It was my political blunder to have rejoined the party,” said Kalyan Singh,once the Hindutva face of the BJP in UP. A party vice-president,he had stayed away from party activities for more than year. Today,he said the BJP leadership had refused to listen to his views on even a single Lok Sabha seat.

The 76-year-old leader from the backward Lodh community claimed that the BJP would not get “more than five seats in UP,plus or minus one” out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The BJP won 10 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Though he maintained he would not float a new party nor join any other,he made it clear “I am not retiring from active politics.” He refused to discuss his future plans but confirmed that he had met SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at his son Rajvir Singh’s house in New Delhi “for three hours”. He said SP general secretary Amar Singh too was present.

He thanked Mulayam Singh for offering his son a SP ticket. Asked whether Rajvir Singh and his aide Kusum Rai,also a BJP MP,too would quit the party,he said they were free to take their own decisions.

Meanwhile,Mulayam Singh said Rajvir was likely to be inducted into the SP soon. There is buzz that the SP plans to field him from the Etah Lok Sabha constituency. Asked whether the SP would also open its doors to Kalyan Singh,Mulayam Singh said: “You should frame your question in a more respectable language. Kalyan Singh is a great leader of India and there is nobody in UP to match his stature and I respect him.”

On the SP offer to nominate Rajvir Singh,he said: “Kalyan Singh should be seen as a leader of the country and his son Rajvir has great potential to become a big political leader… Yes,I met Kalyan Singh and we discussed several issues,including the party nomination for his son. But I will not reveal everything to the media.”

This is the second time Kalyan Singh has left the BJP. He first left the party in 1998 and floated the Rashtriya Kranti Dal. The party supported SP and Rajvir Singh was a minister in the Mulayam Singh government. In 2004,Kalyan Singh returned to the BJP. He has been unhappy since the last Assembly elections in April 2007. But he decided to call it quits after the BJP showed no interest in giving his son a Lok Sabha ticket.

But he claimed today that he only wanted the party not to field Ashok Pradhan from Bulandshahr because the latter had worked to defeat Rajvir in the last election. He said he had conveyed this to L K Advani.

“When Advani called me on December 8,he told me the party is finalising Pradhan’s ticket from Bulandshahr and that they will say it is with my approval. But I disapproved of Pradhan’s candidature thrice. Even after this,they did not pay heed to my advice. This is very insulting,” said Kalyan Singh. “If one can become PM even with less than 120 MPs,then Advaniji will certainly become the PM.” He said if former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee decides to contest again from Lucknow,he will campaign for him.

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