Lucknow, Jan 21 (IANS) Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure the Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya in 1992, returned to the saffron fold when at a rally he announced the merger of his Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP) with the BJP Monday.
Addressing the rally at the Jhule Lal Park here, an emotional Kalyan Singh said that he had "wished for long to return to the party I had served all my life".
"I have been brought up in the BJP and I have the values of the RSS in my blood. I am happy to be back," he said.
He said his wish was that when he died, he would be draped in the BJP's flag. He had quit the BJP in 2010.
The three-time chief minister said he would ensure that the party regains its foothold in Uttar Pradesh. "With better coordination between leaders of the party, its workers and supporters, we will create a new record of seats in the next Lok Sabha polls," he added.
However, while the Jankranti Party -- headed by his son Rajveer Singh, which Kalyan Singh founded in 2010 -- also merged with the BJP, the former chief minister chose not to "officially join the BJP" on the advice of senior party leaders.
The reason for this was that BJP leaders do not want Kalyan Singh, a Lok Sabha member from Etah, to contest elections so soon.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharati welcomed Kalyan Singh into the party fold and called him a "father figure". Even BJP leader Rajnath Singh, once Kalyan Singh's arch rival within the party, welcomed him back and said the latter was "a better chief minister" than him.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, MP from Lucknow Lalji Tandon and state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpayi also welcomed Kalyan Singh into the party fold.