By: Er. Prabhat Kishore
The country witnessed two major movements in the early Nineties, one the Mandal and other the Kamandal (i.e. Ram Mandir) Movement. Overall, the Mandal Movement was led by the OBC leadership of socialist background, while the Mandir movement was led by the Upper caste leadership of Jan Sangh & RSS background. The nineties also saw the emergence of some powerful backward leaders in the BJP like Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Om Prakash Singh & others, who helped it to gain power at the centre in the long run. In strengthening the roots of BJP among depressed sections of the society and expanding its mass base, these leaders offer their best.
Born on 5th January 1932 in a backward Lodh family, Kalyan Singh played significant role in the power politics of Uttar Pradesh. In his early life, he worked as a Swayamsevak of RSS. He contested for the first time in 1967 from Atrauli constituency for the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on Bharatiya Jan Sangh ticket. He contested ten times from the same constituency and won nine times, except in 1980. He was jailed for 21 months during the Emergency in 1975. In 1977 he was include in the State cabinet as the Health Minister. He has been BJP state general secretary in 1980 and president in 1984 and 1987. In 1989 he became the leader of the BJP in the UP Vidhan Sabha.
Articulate & politically suave, Kalyan Singh was the chief architect of the Ayodhya movement. He was the prominent leader of the BJP, formulating and executing the strategies for the Party’s rise in UP, the most populous & central power controlling state. In 1991, when the BJP got an absolute majority under his leadership in the UP Vidhan Sabha election, he was sworn in as the 16th Chief Minister on 24th June 1991. After the demolition of the disputed Ram Mandir-Babri structure in Ayodhya on 6th December 1992, he resigned from Chief Minister post owning moral responsibility and President Rule was imposed by the President Shankar Dayal Sharma.
The short tenure of Kalyan Singh is remembered for strict & good governance in the State and reforms in various sectors. He gave impetus to the development works with social justice. His government chalk out Masterplan for the development of the historical & spiritual place of Ayodhya and acquired 2.27 Acre of land surrounding the disputed structure for the construction of the Ram Chabutara.
Although he had given affidavit in Supreme Court that he would not allow damage to the structure, but he refused to order fire on the crowd when the Karsevaks turned aggressive and demolished it. Along with other stalwarts he was also accused of conspiring over the incident, which he vehemently denied. He clarified that the incident was an outpouring of the sentiments of Crores of people, whose aspirations has been forcibly subdued for hundreds of years. Despite all security arrangement, the structure came down. Had firing been ordered, thousands of people would have been killed. His sacrifice of the Chief Ministership did not go in vain; as in case of no demolition probably the courts would have ordered Status Quo.
He again became the Chief Minister of UP on 21st September 1997 according to the 6-month rotational power-sharing formula between the BJP and the BSP. The BSP withdrew support to the government, but with the support of a faction of Congress Legislatures, he continued as CM. On 21st February 1998, Naresh Agrawal withdrew support to the government. The Governor Romesh Bhandari dismissed the government and invited Jagdambika Pal to form the Government; but the Allahabad High Court did not allow the formation of such type of government. Ultimately Naresh Agrawal had to return back to the BJP. Kalyan Singh proved his majority and form the government again. On having tussle with Party stalwart Atalji he had to resign on 12th November 1999 and ultimately he left BJP in December 1999.
He formed the political outfit “Rashtriya Kranti Dal”; but in 2004, on the request of Vajpayee he came back into BJP and became an MP from the Bulandshahar Lok Sabha constituency. He again got upset with the BJP and became member of Lok Sabha from Etawah constituency in 2009 as an independent candidate. He joined SP in 2009, but return back to BJP in 2013.
He served as the 21st Governor of Rajasthan from 4th September 2014 to 8th September 2019 and was given the additional charge of Governor of HP from 28th January 2015 to 12th August 2015. When Supreme Court judgement came in 2019 to the pave the way for Ram Janma Bhoomi Mandir, he did not hesitate to express his pleasure. He said that his dream has been fulfilled & he wanted to live till the Mandir is constructed. In November 2020, a special CBI court had acquitted all 32 accused in disputed structure demolition case.
Kalyan Singh was the perfect blend of Mandal as well as Kamandal and was termed as “Hindu Hriday Samrat” by the Party cadres. After a prolong illness he said goodbye to his struggling life on 21th August 2021, but left behind glorious remembrance of nationalism and governance. His demise has created vacuum in UP politics, which could not be filled soon.
(Author is a technocrat & academician)
Kalyan Singh: The pillar of Ram Mandir movement
By: Er. Prabhat Kishore