Samajwadi Party’s move to support former MP Amar Singh for election to the Rajya Sabha is the decision of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav who keeps the door of the party open for everyone. More significantly, Mulayam has decided to bring back Amar to the Rajya Sabha because he needs a political manager at the national level ahead of 2017 Assembly polls.
According to party sources, in his SP heydays, Singh had served as the party’s face in the national Capital. The party has been deprived of a vocal leader in Delhi for a long time and with assembly elections due in less than a year’s time, Singh wants to revive the SP’s network with other political parties too.
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Amar is credited with developing the SP’s contacts in the corporate world as well as Bollywood. Sources said that Amar, being in the Rajya Sabha, can help Mulayam more than other SP members in the Upper House.
Despite resistance from party general secretary and SP leader in the Rajya Sabha Ram Gopal Yadav and UP cabinet minister Azam Khan, Mulayam went ahead with the decision at the party’s parliamentary board meeting on Tuesday. Sources said that the SP chief ignored the senior leaders’opinion because their resentment would not damage the party in the forthcoming – neither Azam or Yadav leaders are considered ‘mass leaders’. According to party sources, Azam is unlikely to raise his voice against Mulayam’s decision on Amar since his wife Tazeen Fatma is already a Rajya Sabha member. Tanzeen was given a Rajya sabha ticket when Amar sought SP support for a Rajya Sabha berth in 2014 as his term had expired.
Regardlesss, Amar has continued to meet Mulayam and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and has now succeeded in reviving his political career.
Another opponent of Amar Singh’s is actor-turned politician Jaya Bachchan who is also an SP Rajya Sabha member. But she is not a mass leader either.
Singh – a Thakur—is not a mass leader but he still managed to attract the crowds at his election meetings during the 2012 assembly polls when he had fielded candidates on more than 360 seats under the banner of his own outfit Rashtriya Lok Manch (RLM). All his candidates had lost. Singh had lost the Lok Sabha elections from the Jat dominated Fatehpur Sikri in 2014 as a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) nominee.
However, his presence could help the Samajwadi Party in 2017 polls combat Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh—also a Thakur—who is considered the main UP CM candidate of the BJP.
Singh will campaign for the SP in 2017 polls and he may draw crowds—at least by engaging Bollywood stars in canvassing.
Mulayam Singh is known to have a soft heart for leaders who have left the party in the past and he has almost invariably taken them back into the SP fold.
During the last 10 ten years, Beni Prasad Verma, Amar Singh and Azam Khan had left the party on different occasions –they made adverse and critical remarks against Mulayam from different platforms. But Mulayam never said anything against them and welcomed them back in the party.
Last week, SP took back former union minister Beni Prasad Verma, who is a founder member of the SP but he had left the party around a decade ago to join the Congress. As a Congressman, Beni had made controversial remarks against Mulayam. But Mulayam welcomed him back in party and declared him a Rajya Sabha candidate too on Tuesday, to counter Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. Nitish- a Kurmi- is moving into UP and speaking against the BJP and the SP. Beni, who enjoys strong following amongst Kurmi voters, will counter Nitish.
Party national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agrawal was also in SP in the past but he had left the party in 2008 to join the BSP. The BSP had appointed him party national general secretary, fielded him in Lok Sabha election from Farrukhabad. Agrawal lost that election. His son Nitin was BSP MLA from Hardoi. But when BSP denied a ticket to Nitin, Agrawal and his son returned to the SP in 2011. Nitin won the next election from Hardoi as SP nominee and presently he is a minister in Akhilesh government. SP also send Naresh Agrawal to Rajya Sabha in 2012.