MODI WILL DISINTEGRATE NDA

Pradeep Kapoor Lucknow

Former BJP leader and UP chief minister who presided over the demolition of the Babri Masjid (later BJP rebel, now chief of Jan Kranti Party), backward caste leader Kalyan Singh is convinced that the elevation of Narendra Modi to the national level will disintegrate NDA. If Modi comes to the Centre, all the constituents of NDA will desert BJP, he said. Also, Modi won't be able to help BJP in UP for the party is already on the ventilator.

In an interview with Hardnews, 80-year-old Kalyan Singh, also an MP, asked, "Who could be a bigger Hindutva face than me?" He believes that the day Modi is elevated to the central level and projected as prime minister for 2014, all constituents of NDA will desert BJP, there will be divisions among Hindutva forces and strong Muslim polarisation in favour of Congress.

Ironically, he said, top BJP leaders like LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh have lost support in their original constituencies, hence they have shifted to safe constituencies to get elected to the Lok Sabha. Advani's proposed rath yatra will not able to make any impact despite the anti-corruption mood. "BJP has lost the confidence of people as its leaders are involved in corruption to the tune of several thousand crores." Indeed, all those BJP leaders who faced large-scale corruption charges are still cushioned in the party.

Kalyan Singh cited infamous examples: Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, caught on camera while taking money, is still in the party. Most MPs who lost their Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha membership due to their involvement in corruption cases were from BJP – and they are still in the party. Three BJP ministers in the Punjab government who were sacked on charges of corruption are still in party. Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde exposed a mining scam of Rs 16,000 crore and involvement of BS Yeddyuruppa and his ministers. The ministers facing serious charges of corruption are still members of BJP and the party has not taken any action against them.

The notorious Reddy brothers of Bellary in Karnataka were inducted in the ministry at the behest of central BJP leaders. When Sushma Swaraj contested elections from Bellary, poll management and finances were looked after by the Reddy brothers – mired in massive corruption and open loot.

Kalyan Singh has said that the CBI should probe certain family members and friends of top BJP leaders who were allegedly given mining contracts worth several crore in BJP-ruled states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. "I demand from the governments of these two states to issue a white paper on this issue," he said.

Kalyan Singh is also a leader of the Lodh community, and commands influence in central UP. He believes that Uma Bharti, another face of Hindutva and a Lodh too, is already a failed gamble. There was a time when Uma claimed that Kalyan Singh was like a father figure. Now, Uma will not be able to make an impact in UP because she has herself lost her deposit in her own constituency in Madhya Pradesh. "How can a person who could not save her deposit in Madhya Pradesh ensure victory for other candidates in UP?" Kalyan asked. She is not even member of the BJP election panel, instrumental in giving tickets.

Significantly, Kalyan ruled out any impact of the Anna Hazare campaign in the UP assembly polls. While supporting Hazare, he said that the campaign must educate voters that they should not sell themselves for money and liquor.

There is no alternative to the ruling BSP, as of now, he said. Only a consolidation of OBCs can dislodge Mayawati. BJP might end up supporting BSP for the fourth time in 2012 if BSP emerges as the single largest party and needs support from other parties. Kalyan said that he had opposed any alliance with BSP, but certain BJP leaders, driven by greed, were instrumental in damaging the party and disintegrating its support base.

There was a big rift within the Samajwadi Party (SP) over its alliance with Kalyan Singh, and the Muslims were decisively alienated from the party with the return of the shadow of Babri Masjid demolition. The break-up later has not really helped. Kalyan Singh said he never approached the SP, it was Mulayam Singh Yadav came to him and asked for support. He invited Kalyan to the Agra convention, gave him the red party cap, and asked party workers to raise slogans in his support. That's how it all started between the two arch enemies. 

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: OCTOBER 2011

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