By Faisal Fareed
In first signs of thaw in their relations, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav reportedly called up his friend-turned foe and former MP Amar Singh and invited him for the opening ceremony of Janeshwar Mishra Park —- a dream project of the ruling party —- in Lucknow on Tuesday.
An official invitation has also been sent to Amar Singh who had parted ways from SP in 2010 along with former MP Jaya Prada. Amar Singh has accepted the invitation.
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“I have received the invitation. It is a state government programme. Mulayam Singh personally called me and I will be attending the programme,” Amar Singh told The Indian Express.
He admitted his unflinching loyalty towards Mulayam but did not comment on any plans to rejoin the party. “I am not dying for a Rajya Sabha nomination. My first priority is my health and family. There are other important things to do than politics,” Amar Singh, whose tenure in Rajya Sabha is ending in November, said.
Amar Singh will for the first time share stage with Mulayam and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav since his resignation from the party was accepted in 2010. Amar Singh had experimented by forming his own outfit —- Rahstriya Lok Manch in 2012 —- and unsuccessfully contesting this year’s Lok Sabha election as Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate.
Recently, there were talks that Amar Singh will rejoin SP after Akhilesh and he went abroad at the same time. Call it coincidence, but SP leaders too have started praising Amar Singh.
Mulayam’s softened stance on Amar Singh comes after SP suffered a humiliating defeat in Lok Sabha. Mulayam had often felt the need of Amar Singh and recently publicly stated: “Only one person who was in the party knew what is going on in my heart”. Amar Singh too had responded with a big ‘Thank You’ to Mulayam.
At a juncture when SP is fighting for its survival against a rejuvenated BJP, Amar Singh can play a big role in helping Mulayam retain his ‘national’ image. SP’s traditional vote bank?Muslims and Yadav —- is shrinking and Kshatriyas, who had backed Amar Singh, found Rajnath Singh of BJP as their community leader.
Mulayam is also worried over the non performance of his son Akhilesh Yadav’s government. Even after 20 months of rule, there is no project, which can be cited as an achievement. With poor record, Mulayam knows that it is hard to attack BJP, which is growing strong with its government at the Centre. None of the leaders presently in SP have an image or capability to excel with their performance or manoeuvre the situation politically —- something that Amar Singh is capable of doing.