Kalyan Singh quits BJP, predicts doom for party (Second Lead)January 20th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Jan 20 (IANS) Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh Tuesday quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming he felt “suffocated” and predicted doom for the party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “L.K. Advani’s dream of becoming prime minister can be fulfilled only if there is some way to reach that post without a majority (in parliament),” Kalyan Singh told reporters here, adding the the BJP would win less than 120 of the 545 Lok Sabha seats this time.
The BJP insisted that Kalyan Singh’s desertion was no big loss and dismissed his allegations as “absolutely baseless”. The BJP accused Kalyan Singh of repeatedly embarrassing the party and its leaders.
Kalyan Singh, however, claimed that his exit would herald the party’s downturn in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state where he said that the BJP would not win more than five of 80 Lok Sabha seats.
Kalyan Singh, the MP from Bulandshahr in western Uttar Pradesh and a BJP vice president, said he had returned the party ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Etah in Uttar Pradesh.
“It is humiliating to remain in the BJP,” he said, sounding angry. “No one in the party is prepared to lend me an ear. So why should I stick with such a party? I would rather go to hell.”
He alleged that the space for mass-based leaders in the BJP was shrinking.
“I do not think BJP has any room for leaders with a mass base — be it Uma Bharti in Madhya Pradesh, Lal Marandi in Jharkhand or Madan Lal Khurana in Delhi.”
A three-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he alleged that he felt neglected in the party. “I have never compromised with my self-respect, so I have now decided to quit it.”
Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister when Hindu mobs razed the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, said he was not joining any political party. He quickly added, however: “Nothing can be ruled out in politics.”
He had met Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and general Amar Singh in New Delhi Sunday. While Mulayam Singh had denied the meeting took place, Kalyan Singh confirmed it but did not say what was discussed.
He rebuffed allegations that he was quitting because the party had refused ticket to his son Rajvir Singh or his favourites. “I never asked for ticket for either my son or anyone else.”
Kalyan Singh said the last straw for him was the party fielding Ashok Pradhan from his constituency Bulandshahr. “He (Pradhan) worked against the party interests to defeat my son (in the 2007 assembly elections).”
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters in New Delhi: “Kalyan Singh’s allegation that he was not given his due is absolutely baseless and unacceptable.
“The BJP has always been gracious and largehearted as far as Kalyan Singh is concerned. Kalyan Singh has repeatedly embarrassed the party and its leaders.”