LUCKNOW: By naming roads, medical institutions and Aligarh airport after BJP stalwart Kalyan Singh and taking out an Asthi Kalash Yatra of the late leader, the BJP has signaled its intent to play up his legacy of blending the Hindutva narrative with OBC politics in the state ahead of the Assembly election early next year.
Singh is considered the tallest OBC leader in the state, who rose to fame with the temple movement and became the Hindu Hriday Samrat. It was during his first stint as the chief minister of UP that the disputed structure at Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992. Following the demolition, he resigned flashing the victory sign and claiming he had fulfilled his promise to Ram devotees.
Political pundits believe that both the Yogi Adityanath government and the state BJP unit are going the whole hog to unveil various initiatives to capitalise on Kalyan’s OBC-Hindutva connect. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had taken everything under his control, right from receiving the mortal remains of Kalyan Singh at SGPGIMS on August 21 night to escorting it for the last rites at Bansi Ghat in Narora on August 23.
“The party has done everything to make the stature of Kalyan Singh amply clear to the people of UP. His demise has not only reignited the Hindutva sentiment but also his attributes as the OBC leader may come handy to BJP in the 2022 polls,” says Prof AK Mishra, a political scientist.
According to sources, while part of the ashes of the late leader were immersed in Ganga in Narora by the family on Friday, preparations are on to immerse rest in major rivers of UP, including Ganga in Varanasi and Saryu in Ayodhya.
Shraddhanjali Sabhas are being organised across the state. The first one was held in Ayodhya by the saints and seers to pay tributes to Kalyan Singh on Thursday. “Numerically, OBCs make the biggest chunk of voting population in UP. So, the BJP is trying hard to connect with OBCs in Kalyan’s name who belonged to Lodh, a sub-caste of OBCs,” said Prof Mishra.
BJP has recently promoted Rajya Sabha MP BL Verma, a protégé of Kalyan as the Union minister of state, and is likely to be entrusted with carrying out one of the seven Jan Ashirwad Yatras in the state.