Friday, September 16, 2016

The Invisible Hands of Amar Singh Rock SP Boat Once Again

If you don't know who Amar Singh is, chances are that you would not even look at him if he is standing next to you. Ordinary looking, dressed in at times flashy kurtas, not polished in his talking - but that is where the ordinariness ends.
In Delhi's power corridors he is called a 'wheeler dealer'. His connections and clout cannot be denied. From Bollywood to businessmen to journalists, he is on good terms with most. It is said that those who are in his good books have nothing to fear as he is yaaron ke yaar, but you rub him the wrong way, then hell can break lose.

Something which the Bachchans have learnt the hard way. It was Amar Singh, in fact, who had got bhabhi Jaya into politics and made her a Rajya Sabha MP. It was Amar Singh who had acted as cupid, ensuring Abhishek and Aishwarya had a grand wedding. But today, Jaya Bachchan and Amar Singh don't even see eye to eye, leave alone speak. For them he is an outsider. And ironically today as Samajwadi Party battles Parivarwaad, it's Amar Singh once again who is the newsmaker. Being called an outsider and being blamed for the turmoil.

But the importance of Amar Singh for the Samajwadi Party cannot be denied. Especially for Mulayam Singh Yadav. It was Amar Singh who gave an image makeover to Netaji. From being seen as head of a UP-based party with national ambitions but having no contacts, it was Amar Singh who introduced Mulayam to the glitter. Amar Singh also added the glam factor to the Samjawadi Party.
Mulayam began to be seen in Bollywood and in the company of big businessmen and film stars. Amar Singh's good equation with netas across political parties did help Mulayam play an important role in central politics. In UPA's days, Amar Singh played a key role in thawing Sonia's frosty relation with Mulayam. Sonia hasn't forgotten the embarrassment when sure of Mulayam support she had claimed 272 seats to pitch for government formation in 1999.

But years later, when Congress was looking for numbers for the passage of Indo-US nuke deal and also for the support for Pranab Mukherjee as President, it was Mulayam who helped out. Amar Singh had played the deal maker. Late night meetings with Ahmed Patel and Rajiv Shukla had clinched the deal.

But then slowly things fell apart. Akhilesh didn't have the taste for Amar Singh's ways and slowly the fallout began. A hurt Amar Singh hit out at Bachchans.

He shocked many when he lowered his trousers to show that he was roughing it out on the streets of UP, and he was expelled from the party finally in 2010 for anti-party activities. But then Amar Singh is one person who is not down and out for long. He managed to stay in the news space and continued to shock with his extreme reactions that grabbed media attention. And the inevitable happened. Amar Singh had to be brought back.

Now, following the rout of the Samajwadi Party in the 2014 General Elections - where it was reduced to just four seats in the Lok Sabha - and mounting political challenge from the BJP in the state, Amar Singh and Mulayam headed for a reunion.

Senior party leaders reveal that Mulayam is anxious to have a direct channel of communication with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, and considers Amar Singh to be a help. It was easier for Mulayam to interact with the Centre during the UPA rule, as he could directly approach Sonia Gandhi. But now, the SP supremo perhaps needs Amar Singh to initiate a conversation with Modi.

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