Kalyan Singh: The pillar of the Ram Mandir movement

The country witnessed two major movements in the early nineties, one the Mandal and the other the Kamandal (i.e. Ram Mandir) Movement.
Kalyan Singh: The pillar of the Ram Mandir movement

Er Prabhat Kishore


The country witnessed two major movements in the early nineties, one the Mandal and the other the Kamandal (i.e. Ram Mandir) Movement. Overall, Mandal Movement was led by OBC leadership of socialist background, whereas the Mandir movement was led by Upper caste leadership of Jan Sangh & RSS background. The nineties also saw the emergence of some powerful backward leaders like Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Om Prakash Singh and others in BJP, who in long run helped it to gain power at the Centre. 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 a significant role in the power politics of Uttar Pradesh. In his early life, he worked as Swayamsevak of RSS. He contested first time from the Atrauli constituency for Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in 1967 on a Bharatiya Jan Sangh ticket. He contested ten times from the same constituency and won nine times, except in 1980. During Emergency in 1975, he was jailed for 21 months. In 1977, he was included in the State cabinet as Health Minister. He has been BJP state general secretary in 1980 and president in 1984 and 1987. In 1989, he became the leader of BJP in UP Vidhan Sabha.

Articulate & politically suave, Kalyan Singh was the chief architect of the Ayodhya movement. He was the prominent leader of BJP who formulated and executed the strategies for the rise of the Party in UP, the most populous & central power controlling state. In 1991, when BJP got full majority under his leadership in the UP Vidhan Sabha election, he was sworn in as 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's post owning moral responsibility and President Rule was imposed by 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 chalked out Masterplan for the development of the historical & spiritual place of Ayodhya and acquired 2.27 Acre of land surrounding disputed structure to construct Ram Chabutara.

Although he had given an affidavit in Supreme Court that he will not permit damage to the structure, when Karsevaks became aggressive and demolish it, he refused to give an order of firing on the crowd. Along with other stalwarts he was also charged with conspiracy over the incident, which he vehemently denied. He clarified that the incident was an outpouring of the sentiments of crores of people, whose aspirations have been forcibly subdued for hundreds of years. Despite all security arrangements, the structure came down. In case of an order for firing the thousands of people would have died. His sacrifice of Chief Ministership did not go in vain; as in case of no demolition probably the courts would have ordered Status Quo.

He again became Chief Minister of UP on 21st September 1997 according to the 6-month rotational power-sharing formula between BJP and BSP. BSP withdrew support from the government, but with the support of a faction of Congress Legislatures, he continued as CM. On 21st February 1998, Naresh Agrawal withdrew support from the government. Governor Romesh Bhandari dismissed the Government and invite Jagdambika Pal to form the Government, but Allahabad High Court does not allow the formation of such type of government. Ultimately Naresh Agrawal had to return to BJP. Kalyan Singh proved his majority and again form the government. On having a 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 request of Vajpayee, he came back into BJP and became MP from Bulandshahar Lok Sabha constituency. He again got upset from BJP and became a member of Lok Sabha from the Etawah constituency in 2009 as an independent candidate. In 2009 he joined SP, but return to BJP in 2013.

He served as 21st Governor of Rajasthan from 4th September 2014 2015 to 8th September 2019 and was given additional charge of Governor of HP from 28th January 2015 to 12th August 2015. When the Supreme Court judgement came in 2019 to 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. A special CBI court had in November 2020 acquitted all 32 accused in a disputed structure demolition case.

Kalyan Singh was a perfect blending of Mandal as well as Kamandal and was termed as "Hindu Hriday Samrat" by the Party cadres. After a prolonged illness, he said goodbye to his struggling life on 21st August 2021 but left behind glorious remembrance of nationalism and governance. His demise has created a vacuum in UP politics, which could not be filled soon.

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