Debating India


Ram temple to remain poll issue: Kalyan


Thursday 5 February 2004, by SHUKLA*Shivanand

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition du jeudi 5 f?vrier 2004.

LUCKNOW: Within two days after re-joining the BJP, Kalyan Singh began singing a different tune hinting that besides ’feel good Atal factor’, Ram temple would also be an issue in the coming elections in Uttar Pradesh.

"Atal ka naam, sarkar ka kaam aur sabse upar Ram," (Name of Atal, performance of the NDA government and on top of all, Ram) was the new slogan coined by Kalyan Singh to set the tone for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Kalyan, who was given a tumultuous welcome on his arrival in Lucknow after rejoining BJP in New Delhi on Tuesday, gave broad hints to revive the Ram temple in his own distinctive style claiming that Ram temple issue was very much alive and the party can still reap a rich political harvest along with feel good wave.

"Ram temple is a natural issue. It would continue to be an issue till a magnificent temple is constructed at the site. An early solution would save bloodshed as the existing makeshift temple can’t be removed now. All, including Muslims, should understand this, commented Kalyan declaring that the temple would be constructed at any cost".

Ironically, it was the same Kalyan who had dumped the Ayodhya issue saying that it was dead after demolition of Babri mosque. What surprised all that Kalyan took a different stand than that of BJP central leadership after his re-entry. Party national president Venkaih Naidu has recently announced that temple will not be a poll issue.

Although the enthusiasm was missing over his return to the party headquarters after a gap of over four years, an over-enthusaitic Kalyan increased party’s projected tally from 50 to 58 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

"On the basis of people’s reaction during my train journey from New Delhi to Lucknow, I am correcting myself on what I had announced in New Delhi. The BJP would now win 58 Lok Sabha seats, plus minus two, instead of 50," he declared.

Ironically, it was not the same Kalyan. He looked mellowed down after his reinduction and first visit to BJP headquarters. "After re-induction I am the junior-most in the party hierarchy. I would hold the post of a party worker and would work unitedly with all BJP leaders. The political situation has changed since 1999 and after meeting the Prime Minister we have buried the past to make a new beginning," he announced burying the hatchets with Union minister Rajnath Singh and others.

On accommodation of his son Rajvir Singh, Kusum Rai and others, Kalyan clarified that he did not seek any package for them. "Neither the BJP nor me had laid any conditions for merger. They would work alongwith me and BJP workers," he stated.

Kalyan also made it clear that he would not hit his one-time friend Mulayam Singh Yadav and his government in the run up to Lok Sabha polls. He also parried question on the survival of Mulayam government and possibility of mid-term polls in UP. "There are many issues. Good governance, development would be main issues," he said.

Kalyan would attend the BJP National Council meeting on Friday in New Delhi and would share the dais with the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday in Faizabad to launch the party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Since party has chosen to kick off its poll campaign from the temple town, Ayodhya is likely to remain high on its agenda.

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