New Delhi, May 7: The Uttar Pradesh BJP brass appeared to be closing ranks on Kalyan Singh’s reported comeback.
A week after some Lok Sabha MPs met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to protest the initiative to bring back Kalyan, former state BJP president Kalraj Mishra today spoke out against him. Kalyan had quit the BJP in a huff in 2000 and a cabal believed to be close to L.K. Advani is pushing for his return.
Mishra, a Rajya Sabha MP and a central prabhari (in-charge) of Uttar Pradesh, said the state BJP was “functioning well without Kalyan Singh” and there was no tearing hurry or need to welcome him back. “Neither is he coming nor are we going to take him in the party. If he wants to come back, he will have to take the first step.”
Asked if the trio of Rajya Sabha MPs Balbir Punj and Dinanath Mishra and swadeshi ideologue S. Gurumurthi had called on Kalyan with the consent of the Prime Minister and his deputy, Mishra said: “Consent for what' May be these people had expressed a desire to meet Kalyan and suss up his mood and may be the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister thought there was no harm in this. If they stopped them, it may have been taken amiss. So they went. He has his wellwishers but there was no serious intention. It certainly does not mean Kalyan is being reinducted tomorrow.”
He said the state leaders were not in the picture at all. “We were not informed or consulted.”
BJP sources said Mishra, once part of the original Uttar Pradesh triumvirate that also included Kalyan and the late Rajendra Gupta, was “forced” to join the ranks of the anti-Kalyan members because the state unit was divided, with one section comprising the backward castes in favour of getting back the former chief minister who is even today credited with the BJP’s rise in Uttar Pradesh. State BJP chief Vinay Katiyar, who like Kalyan is from the backward caste, was quoted in a section of the media as being “quite open” to his return.
Indication of Mishra’s restiveness was evident from his charge that contrary to general perception, Kalyan had brought about the BJP’s ruin in Uttar Pradesh. “In 1991, we got a majority (in the Assembly) because of the Ram temple. In 1993, we were down to 175 and, in 1996, we did not add to this tally. In 1999, when he was the chief minister, our tally in the Lok Sabha polls came to an all-time low of 29.”
However, sources close to the pro-Kalyan coterie claimed his return is a “matter of time” — “perhaps just two weeks”.