Ram Bhakt Kalyan is on a special assignment. The Hindutva protagonist of yesterday is busy managing Muslim politics for his rediscovered friend Mulayam Singh Yadav. After issuing a letter to the press in Lucknow on February 4, Kalyan Singh issued another statement the next day in Delhi ``owning up the responsibility of Babri mosque demolition’’ so that Muslims do not fall apart from the Samajwadi Party fold.
How this ``owning up the responsibility’’ will pacify Muslims is a mystery because Kalyan Singh has all through brandished the Ayodhya demolition as a medal of pride. That he was squarely responsible for allowing the pulling down of the mosque is amply proved by the dismissal of his government on December 6, 1992, his trial as the main accused by the Liberhan commission and finally his one-day conviction by the Supreme Court on October 24, 1994.
Some famous Kalyan Singh quotes further underline his staunch stand on the issue. “I will appear in the Supreme Court on 19 January and will say that I was responsible for Ayodhya…”(Press conference December 19, 1992); “Let them try and build a mosque there and we will have a bigger agitation….”(Press conference January 11, 1993): “I am thankful to Bhagwan Ram that he chose me as the medium….”(Public meeting in Shikohabad February 21, 1993); “Demolition was an act of God. I have no regrets, no repentance, no sorrow, and no grief...(Statement before Liberhan commission on December 3, 2004). There are at least a dozen more such revealing quotes from the years gone by.
It always is fruitful to revisit Kalyan Singh’s public statements because he emerges as a perennial jumping jack of UP politics. Historically he seldom means what he says. On November 2, 1991 he made four promises before the National Integration Council (NIC) in Delhi, which included “complete security to disputed structure”. In a press conference on April 22, 1992 he says, “ I am not their (central government’s) `patwari’ (revenue record keeper) that they keep ordering me for documents…my party and I myself are committed to building the new Ram temple….”
On May 13, 1992 Kalyan says referring to NIC team’s Ayodhya visit on April 7, “The report of NIC team about demolishing of temples around the disputed site is baseless, biased and preconceived…” Finally on November 23, 1992, just 12 days before the demolition Kalyan boycotts the NIC meeting in New Delhi. On November 28, 1992, the Supreme Court finds his government’s reassuring affidavit `emphatic’ and decides to allow `symbolic karseva’ on December 6. How well Kalyan Singh kept all his promises needs no elaboration.
In his clarification letter of February 4 last Kalyan Singh states: “ Mulayam Singh and I have become friends. This is no political pact. No conditions are set in friendship and in our friendship there are none…this friendship has four purposes including dispensing social justice to the downtrodden and backwards...” Now consider this oratory in a public meeting in Mughalsarai (Varanasi) on September 20,1996, “ Do you know who was behind Purulia arms droppings? He (Mulayam) is traitor. CBI should inquire into Mulayam Singh’s ISI links…” And what he said in a public meeting in Varanasi in presence of BJP national president Rajnath Singh on December 1, 2005 is also worth a consideration. “If Mulayam Singh incites a communal riot, just give him a fiting reply. Dangaa rokna ho to ek ke badle chaar maro, dangaa ruk jayega…” A national news channel recently replayed video of this particular statement.
Kalyan Singh has not joined Mulayam camp for the first time. The Samajwadi Party had contested 2002 assembly elections in a pact with Kalyan Singh’s Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP), which was formed after he was ousted from BJP in November 1999. Kalyan Singh’s main strength in the state is said to be the Lodh votes which comprise nearly three percent of the electorate in UP. The 2002 results candidly speak of Kalyan Singh’s net political worth. The RKP contested 335 seats and could win only four seats of which Kalyan Singh won two. The party’s vote share was a paltry 3.39%. Kalyan Singh campaigned against the BJP full throttle and supposedly damaged his erstwhile party’s chances in around 30 seats. That was about all.
But this time on when the BJP, as it is, is quite down and out in UP at least, Kalyan Singh could be cutting both ways for Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party.--------------------------