The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Tuesday declared Amar Singh as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled next month. The move sets the stage for Singh’s return to the party, six years after his expulsion.
The other nominees include former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma, who quit the Congress and rejoined the SP last week, and Sanjay Seth, a leading builder in the city.
Sources said party general secretaries Ramgopal Yadav and Azam Khan did not give the nod to Amar Singh during a discussion on the nominees at a parliamentary board meeting Tuesday. After the meeting, Ramgopal said that the parliamentary board had authorised party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to take a decision on the candidates.
It was learnt that Mulayam held separate meetings with Ramgopal and Azam. A few hours later, the party announced Amar Singh’s name along with the other nominees.
The announcement came at a press conference by cabinet minister and Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav. Denying reports of differences over Amar Singh, Shivpal said, “All the names have been finalised by netaji (Mulayam) with the consent of all the board members.”
Asked whether Amar Singh had joined the party, Shivpal said that he was there in Mulayam’s heart. On the possibility of former SP leader Jaya Prada rejoining, Shivpal said, “Samay batayega (Time will tell).”
Amar Singh was expelled from the SP along with then Rampur MP Jaya Prada in February 2010 on charges of anti-party activities, after which he established his own party — Lok Manch. In 2014, however, Amar Singh and Mulayam were again seen together at a function in Lucknow, after which they kept meeting frequently.
The SP’s nomination of builder Sanjay Seth was another surprising move. Seth’s name was recommended by the state government for nomination as MLC last year, but Governor Ram Naik rejected his name at least thrice on the ground that he did not fit in any of the categories for nomination.
Known to be very close to Mulayam, Seth is the managing director of Shalimar Corp Limited, which includes companies like SAS Constructions (P) Ltd, Legacy Investments and Trading Co (P) Limited. His companies have been awarded several government projects.
The other RS nominees are former Allahabad MP Rewati Raman Singh, former Legislative Council chairperson Sukhram Singh Yadav, and sitting Rajya Sabha members Vishambhar Prasad Nishad and Arvind Kumar Singh. Sources said that former MP Bhagwati Singh and Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey were also in the list of probables, but they were not included in the final list.