Amar’s : ‘Amar-Katha’
With the formal expulsion from the party of Amar Singh, and actor-turned politician, Jaya Prada, on February 2, 2010, the glitter and glamour are now totally gone from the Samajwadi Party. Singh had resigned as general secretary of the party as well as from its parliamentary board and as its spokesperson on January 6, 2010. He also used his blog to speak about his abrupt departure from the Samajwadi Party.
With the exit of Singh has ended an era in the socialist party that had thanks to him for turning it into a party of socialites and moneybags. Singh, a business-man, had bargained his way into the socialist set-up and within no time in trouped his band-wagon of loyalists and cine star friends, including the family of star of the millennium Amitabh Bachchan, Sunjay Dut, Jaya Prada, Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tewari and not to forget a brief appearance of former actor and swimming champion Nafisa Ali. Jaya Bachhan and Jaya Prada represented the party in the Parliament along with Amar Singh.
From the industrial side those who claimed allegiance to the Samajwadi Party because of him were Sahara chief Subrato Roy, chief of Reliance Anil Dhirubahi Ambani Group Anil Ambani, Abu Azmi and coterie.
In no time all the senior leaders in the party were sidelined, their voices gagged by Mulayam Singh Yadav who, it was alleged, became a total puppet in the hands of Amar Singh.
“Netaji (Mulayam Singh) would just not listen to anything we said. Nobody dared say anything against Amar Singh. Our Socialist base was totally eroded but we could do nothing. It seemed that he had done some black magic on him,” a senior SP leader told Uday India on conditions of anonymity.
Many party loyalists saw irreparable dents being made into the party base by Amar Singh but kept silent. The man who is famous for courting controversy at every corner continued to rule. Amar’s words were law. In the years that followed the man started wielding absolute power— even the party founder Mulayam presence paled in significance before Singh.
The simmering discontent among party men eventually surfaced to the fore with the entry of Kalyan Singh. Samajwadi Party right existence the time it came into force had enjoyed the trust of the minorities—especially the Muslims. In fact he was affectionately referred to by them as ‘Maulana Mulayam’. Kalyan’s joining the party sent shockwaves
in the Muslim community. Kalyan was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister at the time of Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya and Muslims view him as the chief architect of what resulted in the pulling down of the mosque. The one voice that rang loudest above everyone else was that of Mohammed Azam Khan. General Secretary of the party, Khan was the most recognisable Muslim face of the party. He became the flag-bearer of this anti-Amar Singh campaign. He went all out and totally blamed Amar Singh for eroding the secular base of the party by bringing into the party a ‘saffron-tainted’ man like Kalyan. Azam called it “the real issue confronting the Muslim community in the state”.
With Azam Khan’s anti-Amar press statements started an open fight among Mulayam’s two lieutenants—Azam and Amar. The party chief’s efforts to end the tussle between the two leaders failed. What really highlighted everything was the party fielding actor Jaya Prada from Azam’s constituency Rampur . He revolted. Azam Khan said that Jaya was a totally unsuited candidate and was given the party ticket by Amar Singh. What followed was a spree of allegations and counter- allegations with lots of mud-slinging and dirty linen being washed in public. Jaya eventually won, and immediately after that Mulayam, who had so far protected Khan sacked him from the party for anti-party activities.
An angry and hurt Azam went all out to accuse Mulayam of showing his true face. He hit back at Mulayam calling him a ‘political fraud’. He even went to the extent of saying he had lost the right to call himself secular, and demanded a probe into the party’s alleged use of black money in elections.
Things started souring for Amar Singh when Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Dimple lost the bye-elections from Ferozabad. Mulayam’s applecart was toppled. He could not take it. Fingers were pointed at Amar Singh and this time none other than Mulayam’s brother Ramgopal Yadav fired the shot. Mulayam who has always been accused by his opponents of promoting dynastic rule woke up and took notice. Amar Singh was fired. While the man reacted with an ‘I am relieved’ sigh and challenged Mulayam to sack Jaya Bachchan a hurt Khan accused him of adopting double standards when it came to punishing Amar.
“Maybe Amar Singh did not realise that this time it was not Azam Khan that he was pitted against but Netaji’s brother,” he told the media with a lot of sarcasm. The political scenario is hot with gossip and speculations. Many say shrewd Amar has already struck a deal with Congress. Many are saying that his recent praise of Atal Behari Vajpayee in his blog may mean that he will take the saffron path; others feel he will launch his own party.
Whatever happens one thing is for sure that the man will take a lifetime to wash off the Samajwadi tag from his political career. Those who disagree may go to his website. He has got the green color of the party the background has the party logo, cycle along with Mulayam’s photo. The slogan in Hindi reads: ‘Mulayam Singh zindabad.’ Politics, indeed, makes strange bed fellows. Such nuptial knots may end but the hangover is not likely to end so fast.
By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow