A stalwart who steered the Ram Mandir movement and resigned as the first Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister later in the wake of the Babri mosque demolition, Kalyan Singh was far more astute, shrewd and sharp as a communicator and leader of other backward castes of Uttar Pradesh. Hailing from the OBC Lodh community, Singh’s footprints helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in consolidating and configuring the politics of lower and smaller castes fitting perfectly into the Hindutva narrative.
Fully aware of his competence and calibre, Singh did a turnaround by first aligning with the Samajwadi Party, and later by forming his own political outfit over a difference of opinions with the BJP leadership. His ghar wapsi to the BJP saw him becoming the Rajasthan Governor with his politics nearing its end. From Advani to Murli Manohar Joshi, everybody was acquainted with their roles and positions under the Narendra Modi regime known for its distaste and discontent for dissent and criticism.
How could a Kalyan Singh stay behind from negotiating and persuading his engagement and involvement with the terms of reality around himself? Physically, he may not be present before us, but his thoughts and ideas will always inspire and motivate generations of leaders struggling and striving for social justice and empowerment for their core constituents that are often deprived, despaired, dislocated, abused and stripped of their rights and dignity.
Kalyan Singh was not a Kanshi Ram, but still stood up for the concerns and issues of alienation and oppression, otherwise, reservation for OBC categories in a fragile state such as UP would have been a distant dream. Political parties across the spectrum may not have pitched any effort to reach out to them in their spirit and capacity.
Salute to Kalyan Singh for his pioneering endeavours.
May he rest in peace.