The Samajwadi Party (SP) sprang a surprise on Wednesday by re-nominating actress-turned politician Jaya Bachchan for next month’s Rajya Sabha elections from UP.
The move is likely to further alienate former SP leader Amar Singh, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s one-time close aide. Singh was forced to leave the party, along with actress Jayaprada, in February.
The announcement also reflects the changed equations between Singh and the Bach-chan family. Singh used to call himself the younger brother of Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya’s superstar husband. He often stated the Bachchans were like family to him.
When Singh left the SP, it was widely speculated Jaya would also go with him. But she remained with the SP, raising eyebrows. Jaya did support her political mentor in the days before he finally left the SP, but distanced herself later.
In March, at a rally of Thakurs in New Delhi, Singh criticised her for staying with the party. This widened the rift between him and the Bachchans further.
SP’s Uttar Pradesh unit chief Akhilesh Yadav announced Jaya’s nomination to the upper house of Parliament for another six-year term. The SP has also nominated former Union minister Rasheed Masood, who lost in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, to the Rajya Sabha.
Masood’s nomination is aimed at placating Muslim voters, who had deserted the SP when Yadav cosied up to his bete noire and former BJP leader Kalyan Singh in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.