Overwhelmed by his entry into the Rashtriya Lok Dal, former SP general secretary Amar Singh stopped short of admitting in most of his interviews what by now is a common knowledge that he has been planted by the Congress in the Ajit Singh-led party with a two-pronged stratagem.
One, the Congress hopes the Rajput politician will break into the Rajput-Backward-Brahmin combination that the BJP is building assiduously in Uttar Pradesh to achieve its target of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. The Rajputs have rallied around the BJP after the elevation of Rajnath Singh as BJP president.
Amar Singh, who is out on bail in the cash-for-vote scam in Parliament, has dabbled in Rajput politics in the state before the 2012 assembly polls. He had attended all conventions of the All India Kshatriya (Rajput) Mahasabha of which he was a patron.
Two, the Congress is also providing the rabble rouser a platform to take on the Mulayam-Akhilesh duo while the Gandhis watch the verbal duels from the galleries.
Had the Congress not been behind this new political friendship, there would have been little reason for Amar to join the RLD, which will be contesting just 8 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP.
For Ajit Singh, currently embattled with the saffronisation of his powerful Jat community in west UP, Amar some hope before the elections.
Amar, who has spent the past four years in the political wilderness, a month in Tihar jail in the cash-for-vote case and weeks in hospital for a kidney ailment, sees more of a future in the UPA than with ally RLD.
Though he dislikes labels such as wheeler-dealer or fixer, the fact remains that his utility will come into play more after the elections than his political relevance before them. A politician who professes to embrace the anti-BJP path and yet announces that he sees the saffron party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as his brother-in-law just because his wife hails from Gujarat, can be of great use to party hopper Ajit Singh if the LD leader decides to move to the NDA.
It’s common knowledge that there is no love lost between Ajit Singh and Amar Singh, both of whom have used every opportunity to cast aspersions at each other. While Ajit has often mocked Amar for bringing a corporate and celebrity culture into the SP, Amar has called him a “political weathercock”. However, the turn of events has now brought the Jat and Rajput leader together to share little with each other except their animosity for SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav was not far off the mark when he said Amar’s joining the RLD was “Zero + zero= zero”. Loath to be dismissed as being irrelevant in state politics, Amar shot back: “I am happy I am relevant for my wife and children.” What he didn’t say was that politics is also about power without which he too finds himself irrelevant.