This is the moment most media-watchers, not to mention editorial writers, have been dreading. The omnipresent Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party says he will retire after the election results are out. After years of providing fodder for the media and being a mentor to the stars, we wonder, as Argentinians did of Santa Evita, what will we ever do without him?
But before you become lachrymose, there is hope. Because past experience shows that retirement does not come easily to those in the public eye. They keep popping up like bad pennies well after they have announced their retirement. Former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan had packed away his pads on several occasions, only to bounce back onto the pitch until he finally took to politics. We’ve seen this phenomenon among several international sportsmen. They’ll call a press conference and wiping away tears will announce that they are hanging up their boots, gloves or racquets. But before the adoring public has really got around to missing them, back they are till the next bout of retirement blues hits them. Bjorn Borg was famous for this.
Closer home, we have seen leaders like Uma Bharti taking sanyas only to come back in a new, improved version. Retired bureaucrats routinely tell us that they will now devote their lives to gardening and writing books, only to turn up on a government committee or two. So, going by past precedent, Amar Singh will be back in our midst after a little hiatus. After all, politics is all about never saying never.