“Raja nahin, Faqir hi desh ki taqdir hai (not the king, the beggar is the future of the nation)” was the slogan, which almost every Samajwadi, including Janeshwar Mishra, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others raised in the early 90s to boost V.P. Singh’s image. But after nearly 18 years, both have crossed swords. the “faqir” has now turned out to be the “villain” for the slogan-shouting socialist brigade.
The battle between former Prime Minister V.P. Singh and chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is now no-holds barred. After initial rounds of indirect shots at each other, the spat has taken an ugly turn. In the days to come, it is likely to worsen. At the Samajwadi Party function held to celebrate three years of Mulayam Singh government in office on Tuesday, the SP leaders tried to “malign” the Raja of Manda.
The SP leaders appeared to be jittery about V.P. Singh’s Jan Morcha movement in the state. While VP Singh has pushed Dadri power project to the centre stage as a “symbol of corruption”, the SP has been desperately trying to counter it by “adversely hyping” the Allahabad Mall project of Ajeya Singh, son of V.P. Singh. However, for V.P. Singh it is a “diversionary tactic”. He has written to the chief minister to take action against his son if irregularities were found in the construction of the Mall.
While the chief minister has not replied to the letter, SP vice president Janeshwar Mishra wanted know about the mall’s funding. “From where did he get Rs 25 crore,” Mishra asked at the party function on Tuesday.
Similarly, general secretaries Beni Prasad Verma and Amar Singh also targeted Singh over the mall. But V.P. Singh made it clear that he was not going to divert attention from the Dadri project by joining issue with the SP leaders on the Allahabad Mall. “To me Dadri farmers are more important,” he said.
The SP leaders fear that the Jan Morcha Alliance (JMA) headed by Raj Babbar can boost the anti-incumbency against the ruling party — and therefore are more hostile towards V.P. Singh.
Even Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has veered round to the view that Singh has the potential to politically damage the present dispensation. “What Bofors was for the Congress, Dadri is for SP,” said a senior RLD leader and added that Raja of Manda had chosen a politically volatile issue.