Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi no more

By Praveen Singh Jasol 

Burly Lokendra Singh Kalvi looked like a character out of Tigmanshu Dhulia’s film scripts. A hero trying to get into the system, creates his own set of boundaries when system does not allow getting in.

In young days, aloof from politics, he was a basketball player and an ace shooter. His life remained full of dichotomies, born to a towering leader, his entry into a politics was not easy.

He contested from Chandrashekhar’s Samta Party and got just 94,000 votes contesting on Nagaur Lok Sabha seat in 1996. But it was enough to ensure defeat of the BJP candidate.

Later, he joined BJP and was fielded from his father’s constituency Barmer in 1998. Kalvi lost the election to Col. Sonaram of Congress. In the next election, he was denied ticket by BJP, and Manvendra Singh replaced him from Barmer.

Kalvi showed black flags in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rally in Rajasthan against giving reservation to influential Jat community without a mandatory backwardness survey. Kalvi demanded economic backward reservation for Rajputs and a division into OBCs based on creamy layer.

In 1999, he formed “Samajik Nyay Manch” with Devi Singh Bhati and Satyanaran Saini with a war cry of ‘Upekshit ko Arakshan, Arkashit ko Sanrakshan’. Manch opposed Vasundhara Raje’s meetings starting from Jaitaran. Only Bhati could win Kolayat seat though many of their candidates performed well.

The campaign soon lost steam and Bhati rejoined BJP while Kalvi chose Congress. Reservation based on Economic statue was his aim and soon got miffed with Congress also. He opposed Sonia Gandhi’s meeting in Jaipur.

In 2006, he formed the Rajput Karni Sena named after the Charan goddess of Deshnok. The principal demand was reservation on economic basis and wrong depiction of history in Bollywood. Ashutosh Gowarikar’s film Jodha Akbar was not allowed to be released in Rajasthan.

In 2014, he again joined BJP at the behest of then chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who used to address him as “Dada” or elder brother. However, he could not be contained and Karni Sena again hit the ground on Rajmahal issue opposing state government trying to take over a palace owned by the Jaipur royal family, with Diya Kumari as a member of BJP and sitting MLA from Sawai Madhopur.

Karni Sena’s opposition to Vasundhara Raje continued when Chatur Singh, a youngster with minor criminal history, was killed in a police encounter in Jaisalmer. Kalvi sat on a dharna demanding CBI investigation in the encounter.

Later, Nagaur again turned a turf when state police killed gangster Anandpal Singh in Churu. After violent protests, the government recommended a CBI investigation in the matter, which gave cops a clean chit but alleged violence by protestors including at behest of Kalvi and his organization.

This was followed by Padmaavat Saga. Nationwide protests against the film started and turned violent in some cases. As the government did not budge on ban, he called for a rally in Gandhinagar, Gujarat just before the state elections. The government started parleys with Kalvi which resulted a ban on the movie in Gujarat. Many other states followed with a ban on movie.

Recently, he opposed the release of a movie on Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan, and the producers changed the name of the movie. TV channels and critics labelled him as a fringe element using extra constitutional methods for gaining popularity.

Finally, the central government passed EWS quota bill in 2019 providing 10% quota for economically weaker sections fulfilling the long pending demand of Kalvi.

Image courtesy of (Image: The Federal News)

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