The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kalyan leaves lips smacking

New Delhi, Dec. 25: Officially, the BJP’s response to Kalyan Singh’s possible homecoming was cautious, but privately its leaders sounded delighted that the tattered Uttar Pradesh unit would get a blood infusion.

Speaking after a meeting of the BJP’s central office-bearers today, general secretary Pramod Mahajan said: “I am not aware of anything regarding Kalyan Singh.”

The comment was made in the context of a statement by Kalraj Mishra, in charge of Uttar Pradesh on behalf of the central leadership, that Kalyan’s presence by the Prime Minister’s side at a function in Lucknow yesterday was “not coincidental” but an “expression of his wish to return to the BJP”.

Mahajan said: “What Kalraj told the media may be his personal opinion. Kalyan called on the Prime Minister on the eve of his birthday to greet him, we do not read anything more.”

He said the issue did not figure in the meeting today.

BJP sources, however, said caution was their byword because they did not want the “Kalyan homecoming” project to be aborted before he goes through the motions of consulting his MLAs and office-bearers at a meeting he has called in Lucknow on January 4.

Kalyan’s Rashtriya Kranti Dal is part of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government and has two ministers holding key portfolios.

He is expected to withdraw them, pull out of the government and announce his party’s merger with the BJP. BJP sources expected the pre-merger ritual to take place after January 4.

The sources said the main reason for the circumspection was that the exercise of getting Kalyan back was conceptualised and executed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself through his Lucknow constituency minder and long-time personal aide Shiv Kumar.

Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Lalji Tandon, otherwise a confidant of the Prime Minister, was roped in after the groundwork was done.

Kalyan expressed his wish to greet Vajpayee at the Lucknow function, organised by Tandon on the eve of his 79th birthday. Once Tandon conveyed this to Vajpayee, the Prime Minister gave the go-ahead.

Kalyan was reportedly peeved at Mulayam giving him a wide berth after getting the numbers to secure the Samajwadi Party-led government.

Samajwadi general secretary Amar Singh, who spoke on the anti-terror law case against MLA Raja Bhaiyya today, refused to respond to Kalyan’s possible return to the BJP.

“No comment,” he said, adding: “Now Kalyan is praising the Prime Minister, earlier he was abusing him.”

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