Mulayam's love for Amar Singh will ruin SP's chances in UP polls

The new development has once again sent the signals that irrespective of what people say, Akhilesh Yadav is just a dummy CM.

 |  7-minute read |   23-09-2016
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The "amar" love story of the Samajwadi Party is much like your typical Bollywood romance. Hero and heroine meet each other (in this case, Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh), fall for each other so badly that there is a major resentment within the family (in this case, the Samajwadi Party), and then, answering the prayers of their diehard critics, they have an equally messy divorce.

The boy or girl, take your pick, fell out and the architect of this split, the villain in this case, was the duo - Ramgopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav - which rejoiced at the turn of events. Since it happened before the all-important 2012 Assembly polls and the election result was unprecedented, it was a happy ending for the Samajwadi Parivar.

Except for Amar Singh.

Very rarely do you witness the decline in the fortunes of somebody like it happened with Amar Singh.

Like the proverbial heroine who is now shunned by everybody, courtesy her once closeness to the hero, and is now left to fend for herself, Amar Singh overnight became a social pariah and chacha Ramgopal and bhateeja Akhilesh had the last laugh.

Till lady luck chose to smile back on Amar Singh.

Amar Singh's being back in favour of Netaji was also semi-magical. Six years of bitterness and hostility simply disappeared and Amar Singh was given a Rajya Sabha ticket.

Though there were protests from the triumvirate of Akhilesh, Ramgopal and Azam, Amar Singh, this time, had the blessings of both Mulayam as well as Shivpal. This is where the seeds of the "Samajwadi Pari-war" were sown.

Party insiders say that it is very difficult to keep Amar Singh in a status quo position for long.

And with each passing day, Akhilesh Yadav and co have started feeling a little bit of Amar Singh here and a little bit of Amar Singh there in policy affairs of Uttar Pradesh.

Though it was annoying but the interference level never reached an alarming position and the lid was firmly in its place.

Then the infamous party, purportedly to felicitate Subhash Chandra in Delhi, happened. It is alleged that the then chief secretary Deepak Singhal said derogatory things about Akhilesh, which was also seconded by Amar Singh. An alleged audio clip of the said conversation was dutifully passed on to Akhilesh by one of the persons privy to the conversation.

The content of the conversation was such that it blew the lid off Akhilesh. In the meantime, SP patriarch Mulayam, decided to name his brother Shivpal as the new Uttar Pradesh state chief.

Swift retribution followed and what happened then has been repeated ad nauseam to not merit a repeat.

But what was common in counterattack of both Akhilesh and Ramgopal was the role of an outsider. And even a brick in Lucknow could tell that the outsider was nobody other than Amar Singh.

Then what followed has thrown most of the SP leadership as well as political observers into a whirlpool of confusion. Mulayam became very assertive and not only backed his brother, but even went on to the extent of saying that had he listened to Shivpal, he would have become the PM.

Shivpal Yadav's first action after becoming the state chief was to bring the fault line of the Parivar to the fore. He suspended Ramgopal's nephew MLC Arvind Yadav on charges of corruption. A day later, he suspended six of Akhilesh's loyalists, including four organisation heads.

It was clear that in the battle between Shivpal and Akhilesh, Mulayam is backing his younger brother to the hilt. But the best was reserved for the last. Amar Singh had gained infamy once again as the outsider called himself a "Mulayamwadi" and went to meet him once he came back from Lucknow.

By the end of the day, Mulayam Singh released a letter, which was a solid 10 on the political Richter scale in Lucknow.

The signed letter appointed Amar Singh as general secretary of Samajwadi Party and called him a man who has stood by him during his time of trouble. Now Amar Singh was the first among equals with his rank equivalent to that of Ramgopal Yadav. This development was greeted with stunned silence from both Akhilesh and Ramgopal camps.

akhilesh-yadav_2_0_0_092316125428.jpg Akhilesh Yadav is just a dummy CM. (Photo credit: PTI)

The question which was on everyone's mind was: what led to Amar Singh's re-entry into the SP and why? There is no clear-cut answer to this question.

A leader close to Akhilesh camp said that if this is part of Netaji's strategy then it's a classic case of cutting your nose to spite your face. He said, "If this development is sending any signal to the electorate, then it is this: whatever impression that was going to the masses - that Akhilesh is the real CM and is the face of SP - is all an elaborate lie and nothing else. Image of Amar Singh is such in UP that if he is seen as back in the coterie of Mulayam, then the signal is that the things are back to square one."

The grapevine in the corridors of power in Lucknow is already filled with stories of "what exactly led to this fallout between Shivpal and Akhilesh and how Amar Singh is back to his old game".

The moves of Mulayam Singh has even left his supporters a bit confused because they know that even though Shivpal may be the quintessential party man, it was for Akhilesh that the people of UP voted en masse.

However, this new development has once again sent the signals that irrespective of what you say, Akhilesh is just a dummy CM.

There is also a major concern about the image of the party taking a hit even though so far no charges of corruption have been levelled against the Akhilesh government.

So while the jury is out on the real reason, which led to the grand re-entry of Amar Singh in the party, the spotlight has firmly shifted on the man of the moment.

This palace coup has once again established Amar Singh credentials as the master of intrigues. Though there has been a lot of analysis of how the SP needed Amar Singh for an image makeover or for his wheeling-dealing skills or even for opening a line with the current dispensation at the centre as it was with the UPA, the fact remains that these are just specious arguments.

A senior SP leader, who had seen Amar Singh during his heyday, said that while it is all right that he brought about an image makeover and turned the party into a new avatar of itself, the fact remains that he drew his power from the party and not the other way around. "If he was a power unto himself, surely he would have done better for himself in the six years of hiatus. From the 'arsh' (sky) of power and glory he was thrown to the 'farsh' (ground)", he said.

Another leader admitted that a lot has changed since Amar Singh's exit and the party is not what it used to be. He says: "A lot of work has been done and perhaps for the first time the party and the government was improving its image in the eyes of the people, so much so that there were talks of return to power. But it seems that Netaji is on a suicide mission mode. On the brink of election by having Amar Singh in the party, we are sending a very wrong signal to the people of UP."

Away from these worries, Amar Singh is now firmly ensconced in the power structure of the Samajwadi Party with Mulayam as his guarantor, but insiders say this is just a lull before the storm.

As the division of tickets and candidate selection comes a bit closer to the election date, the million-dollar question is going to be - will the SP survive the Amar Singh effect?

Also read - Why Mulayam brought Amar Singh back into Samajwadi Party

Also read - What Mulayam can learn from South India family politics


Brijesh Pandey Brijesh Pandey @brijeshpandey27

The author is a journalist with India Today TV.

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