Is Amar Singh being wishy-washy or is it a case of wishful thinking? “I wish I could quit politics,” says the 53-year-old Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, who is blamed by some of his party men for bringing the “corporate culture” to a party that once considered itself socialist.
These are bad times for Amar Singh and his party, which drew a blank in this month’s by-polls.
Amar Singh is also held responsible for befriending former BJP leader Kalyan Singh primarily to win the Rampur Lok Sabha seat, where actor and SP leader Jaya Prada faced stiff opposition from Azam Khan.
Khan, earlier considered the “Muslim face” of the SP, was suspended from the party for speaking out against party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cozying up with Kalyan, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992.
Amar Singh, who is also blamed by a section of his party for the exit of leaders such as Raj Babbar and Beni Prasad Verma, claims he is a misunderstood man. “I am blamed for whatever goes wrong in the party, while others get credit for the rights,” he says.
“Politics is very cruel. If something happens to me, the utmost the party would do is hold a condolence meeting,” he adds. “But it’s my family, my two daughters who will suffer. Not the party.”
But in the same breath, he suggests that he is irreplaceable and no other SP leader can work on what he calls “communication chemistry” like him.
He says the right time to “bid adieu to politics” would be when the SP comes back to power. “The party is going through a crisis and I don’t run away in crisis,” he says. “I can’t leave Mulayam, as he needs me.” He wants Mulayam to discipline the party cadre. “Anybody publicly criticising the leadership should be thrown out without any ifs and buts.”