Kalyan Singh: “Kalyan Singh has defined his own conditions of engagement”

“The saints must always be found guilty until they are cleared …”, began his essay of the British writer George Orwell – “Reflections on Gandhi” – thus in 1949, in which he painted a posthumous portrait of Mahatma Gandhi.

Orwell’s standard is also rigorously applicable to today’s politicians. Kalyan Singh, however, was an exception, as he did not claim to be a saint or a staunch practitioner of politics guided by cold calculations. Singh was her own man, often driven by the impulses and emotions of the time. He had a magic spell on the masses. Long before he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1991, Singh was known as a sincere and honest leader, as Minister of Health in the Janata Party government (1977-80).

This was the time when the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) merged its identity within the Janata Party to fight the emergency.

As Minister of Health, he made his mark by transferring in droves of government doctors who had formed a formidable lobby for power in the state. He broke vested interests to ensure that health facilities are accessible to all.

The elders remember Singh making surprise visits to state hospitals to see if the poor were receiving proper treatment.

His rise from a humble background in the village of Hydrauli in the Aligarh district to the top reflects the arrival of plebeians in Indian politics.

He was inseparably attached to the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.

Singh’s date with politics began in the late 1960s when the state witnessed the emergence of a powerful anti-Congress coalition that ultimately ousted the Grand Old Party from Uttar Pradesh. Over the next several years, Singh became a sober and powerful voice within the BJS.

He knew the people and the geography of Uttar Pradesh like the back of his hand. Singh’s pragmatic and incorruptible image as Minister of Health served him well after the Janata Party split and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed.

He has become his most credible political face across the state. Singh’s role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement catapulted him to the center of the BJP scene and he became its chief prime minister in 1991. Although Mandal’s turmoil has polarized society, he is all in his favor. honor to have never flaunted its OBC credentials until then. People only became aware of Singh OBC’s track record when senior leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee casually alluded to it at the BJP National Executive meeting in Sarnath of Varanasi (1991) to emphasize how the party was opposed to the exploitation of social fault lines for political ends.

Singh has proven to be an exceptional administrator in his tenure as Chief Minister. He launched a campaign to purge the state of criminals and streamlined the administration to control corruption. Those who worked with him still say that his understanding of governance was so deep that he would reorient the bureaucracy towards the welfare of the people with his skillful wielding of administrative tools. Singh’s popularity skyrocketed after his dismissal following the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. In the most populous state in the country, he became a voice of marginalized sections. His subsequent political career was tumultuous, with more lows than highs.

Yet he has lived an extraordinary life setting his own terms of engagement in politics while clinging fiercely to his sense of self-respect and dignity. applied.

(The author is press secretary to the President of India)

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