Lucknow, Oct. 30: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh today said he is all set to rejoin the BJP.
“I have had several rounds of talks with central BJP leaders and now it is time for my homecoming. It is a matter of time. I am just waiting for a phone call from BJP national president Nitin Gadkari”, Kalyan told local television channels here.
“But he (Gadkari) may be busy now with the forthcoming state elections,” he added.
Kalyan quit the party in 1999 following differences with then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other BJP central leaders from Uttar Pradesh. He rejoined before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections and was appointed national vice-president, but quit before the 2009 elections to join hands with Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“Yes, it is more or less final. I cannot tell you when but I hope to be in the BJP soon,” he said today, when contacted over phone.
BJP sources said he was likely to be re-inducted next month.
“During my negotiations with the central BJP leaders in the last couple of months, I discussed with them the plans I have for revival of the party and the battle ahead for 2014. I will work hard to restore the party to its past glory,” said Kalyan, 80, oozing confidence.
Like in 2004, this time too Kalyan’s Jan Kranti Party (Rashtravadi) is expected to merge with the BJP after his formal entry into the party. A Rajya Sabha seat for Kalyan’s son and former Uttar Pradesh minister Rajvir is part of the deal the BJP’s central leaders have struck with him, sources said.
The pact was finalised last week when former BJP president Rajnath Singh called on Kalyan at his Lucknow residence. Rajnath had refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting.
Known as one of the BJP’s Hindutva faces because he was Uttar Pradesh chief minister at the time of the Babri Masjid demolition, Kalyan’s re-entry is being seen as an attempt by the BJP to woo the backward class Lodh Rajputs who account for about 3 per cent of the state’s population. Kalyan belongs to the Lodh community.
Uma Bharti, another Lodh leader and party MLA, was unable to have an impact.
The RSS pushed Gadkari to bring Kalyan back because it believes other backward leaders like Uma and Vinay Katiyar cannot on their own wean away the backward castes, or at least sections of them, from the Samajwadi Party and the BSP. The BJP drew its strength in Uttar Pradesh from a combination of the upper caste and backward caste support.
Lodh Rajputs are almost as dominant as Yadavs and Kurmis, the other backward classes, because they are numerically concentrated, financially empowered and socially acceptable to the upper castes whose authority they never challenged.
The BJP’s last effort to strengthen its backward caste support base in January this year by offering scam-tainted BSP leader Baburam Kushwaha party membership had not helped. Kushwaha was arrested by the CBI in over the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in March.
BJP had won only nine out of the total 80 seats in the 2009 general election and 47 of the 403 seats in the 2012 Assembly elections in the state.