Kalyan forces BJP leadership to give RS seat to protegeNovember 9th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS
img src=”http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/images/Bharatiya Janata Party/in}bjp.jpg” hspace=”5″ vspace=”5″ alt=”Bharatiya Janata Party” title=”Bharatiya Janata Party” align=”right” Lucknow, Nov 9 (IANS) The nomination of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Kusum Rai for a Rajya Sabha berth from Uttar Pradesh is seen as an attempt to mollify the party’s estranged senior vice president Kalyan Singh, who wanted the seat for his protege.Kusum Rai’s proximity to Kalyan Singh has been an open secret, so much so that the friendship once led him to quit the BJP and form the Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP).
The Rajya Sabha election for 10 seats of Uttar Pradesh will be held Nov 21.
Though RKP failed to make an impact and Kalyan Singh returned to the BJP, he did make a dent in the party’s electoral prospects. The party had to take him back because of this and has now agreed to his demand for a Rajya Sabha nomination for Kusum Rai.
Party insiders are livid.
“I fail to understand the criterion for Kusum Rai’s selection for a prestigious nomination to the upper house, simply because she happens to be close to a party bigwig,” said a former state BJP president on the condition of anonymity.
Another veteran leader said: “The leadership should have shown courage and refused to bow down to a whimsical demand.”
“How can we forget the derogatory remarks Kalayan Singh publicly made (about former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee and other BJP leaders who sought to chastise Kalyan Singh for his proximity to Kusum Rai?”
Most BJP insiders were unhappy that the party leadership set aside the claims of several deserving aspirants.
About a decade ago, Kusum Rai was a BJP worker in Lucknow, where her husband had a contractual assignment with the information department. Her initial contact with Kalyan Singh got her a municipal corporator’s ticket in Lucknow.
After Kalyan Singh returned to power the third time in September 1997, she acquired prominence in the party.
Though she was initially made the State Women’s Commission chairperson, she began to wield much more power. From bureaucrats, police officials to smaller party functionaries, all made a beeline to her.
Kusum Rai could decide postings and transfers of officials. She came to be known as the de facto chief minister, arousing resentment in the party.
Meanwhile, her husband was given a full time appointment in the grade of a deputy director, a post he still holds.
From a low-income group dwelling, Kusum Rai moved into a grand bungalow because she had been accorded the rank of a minister of state.
Her emergence as a power centre cost Kalyan Singh dear and he was forced to make an exit from office Nov 12, 1999.