Kalyan Singh - Mulayam not strange bedfellows

January 19th, 2009 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Jan 19 (IANS) Sunday’s ’secret’ meeting between two Uttar Pradesh political titans, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kalyan Singh, has not come as a surprise to those who have seen similar phases of bonhomie between the two leaders who are ideologically poles apart.Samajwadi Party chief Yadav and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice president Kalyan Singh, who have been strange bedfellows in the past as well, met Sunday evening in New Delhi amid speculation that the latter may quit the BJP.

Samajwadi Party sources said Kalyan Singh was angry with his party for two reasons — his son Rajvir Singh was not given ticket from a constituency of his choice and that the party fielded a candidate who, he claims, worked for his son’s defeat in the 2007 assembly elections.

The sources said his son was offered a seat from Aligarh district but this was not acceptable to Kalyan Singh.

The party has fielded Ashok Pradhan from Bulandshahr constituency which Kalyan Singh represents. He had to move to another constituency since that seat has now been reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.

When Kalyan Singh could not have his way with the BJP high command in the past, he often chose to take his war to the streets. And in his tirade, he would not spare even former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

And more often than not, his belligerence emerged from purely personal issues, elevation of his controversial protege Kusum Rai to party posts or rehabilitation of his son Rajvir Singh.

“The people of this country will not pardon the BJP and its highest command, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for getting me expelled from the party that I served selflessly for 45 years,” Kalyan Singh had stated shortly after he was shown the door on Dec 9, 1999.

He went on to say that “this decision will spell doom for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, which will mean the end of the party at the national level as well”.

Shortly thereafter, Kalyan Singh formed his own Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP) and struck an electoral alliance with his sworn political foe, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. A shrewd Mulayam promptly offered a cabinet post to Kalyan’s blue-eyed Kusum Rai as well as son Rajvir.

He courted controversy in the late 1990s by going out of his way to catapult Kusum Rai, then a small time municipal corporator, to the post of the chairperson of State Women’s Commission and help her become a member of the upper house of state legislature.

The BJP has not taken kindly to Kalyan Singh’s tendency to sulk.

“A few months back he managed to secure a Rajya Sabha berth for Kusum Rai through sheer nuisance value, blatantly depriving certain more legitimate and deserving claimants,” observed a senior Uttar Pradesh BJP functionary.

The party leader said: “If you keep on conceding unreasonable demands raised by a particular person, you ought to be prepared for such insolent attitude.”

According to him, BJP national president Rajnath Singh had tried to put his foot down against the elevation of Kusum Rai to the Rajya Sabha but senior leader L.K. Advani vetoed Rajnath Singh to mollify Kalyan Singh, who had then threatened to quit.

Even other state BJP leaders are of the view that if Kalyan Singh were to make an exit now to again join hands with Mulayam, the “loss would be his than the BJP’s”.

Added another party leader: Kalyan Singh has been reduced to a regional leader of a small pocket of the state.”

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