Completing his term as Rajasthan governor, a constitutional post that protected him from facing trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case, Kalyan Singh on Monday challenged opposition parties to clarify their stand on the construction of a Ram temple at that spot.
Singh, who was Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the mosque at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya was demolished, rejoined the BJP at the party office here.
“Ayodhya is a sacred pilgrim spot. Construction of a temple of Lord Ram is a matter of faith for crores of people. And Lord Ram himself is a symbol of faith for crores of people of the country,” he said during his press conference later in the day.
"I do not want to do any politics over this. But what I want is that all political parties should make clear their stand before the people -- whether they are in favour of the construction of a Ram temple or not," he said.
After completing his five-year term in Rajasthan, Singh, 87, has officially returned to the party-fold as a primary member, rejoining in the presence of UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
Singh rejected the suggestion on aspiring to lead the party in Uttar Pradesh, telling reporters that the BJP state president and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were doing a good job.
But Singh said he does not feel “retired” and has decided to re-enter active politics.
Kalyan Singh had resigned as Uttar Pradesh chief minister after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
He could face trial for criminal conspiracy in the demolition case as the immunity he enjoyed while holding the constitutional post of the governor now no longer exists.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered revival of the criminal conspiracy charges against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.
It had then clarified that Kalyan Singh could not be brought in as accused to face trial because governors enjoyed immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution.
However, the Supreme Court told the CBI to call Kalyan Singh as an accused as soon as he ceases to be a governor.
When asked whether he aspired to head the BJP in the state, Singh said, "The UP BJP chief is doing a very good job.”
"The UP chief minister is doing a very good job. Since the time Yogi Adityanath assumed office, the condition of villages, the poor and the farmers has improved qualitatively," he added.
He also termed "satisfactory" the law and order situation in the state, saying that in the past two-and-half years of BJP rule, there has been “not a single” riot.
Answering a question on the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress, he said he did not see them staging a comeback in the state.
“They have lost their support and the mandate. They first enter into an alliance and then break it. Any party which has lost the confidence of the people cannot resurrect itself," he said.
Earlier, Singh was flanked by son Rajveer Singh, a Lok Sabha MP from Etah, and grandson Sandeep Singh, minister of state for finance in Uttar Pradesh, when he accepted the party membership.
"My body is not feeling tired and the mind not feeling retired,” he said.
“I consider politics as an empowered medium to serve the people. With the same feeling, I have decided to enter active politics. Till the time, I was the governor, I upheld the dignity of the post," he said.
Asked if he planned to contest elections, the former chief minister replied in the negative.
Questioned about the `morality’ of returning to active politics after holding a constitutional post, he said, "What is the immorality in this?”
“Till I was the Rajasthan governor, I upheld the dignity of the constitutional post. Whether it was the BJP government (earlier) and the Congress government now, I did not face any difficulty."
He refused to draw any comparison between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of the Congress and Vasundhara Raje, the BJP leader who held that post earlier.
Looking back at his tenure as Rajasthan governor, Singh said, "The work done by me in higher education was historic.”
“Convocation programmes were not held since 1990. More than 32 lakh students had not got their degrees. The backlog was cleared and three generations came together to receive their degrees at the same time," he said.
In Jaipur, former Union minister Kalraj Mishra was on Monday sworn in as the new Rajasthan governor.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine