Three days after senior leader Amar Singh resigned from the posts he held in the Samajwadi Party (SP), the party plunged deeper into crisis.
Bollywood actor and party general secretary Sanjay Dutt on Saturday resigned from his party post following in the footsteps of Singh, whom he called his “godfather”.
“I remain a primary member of the party, but do not wish to continue with any post. I am hurt by the way SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav said Bollywood actors have not contributed to election victory,” Dutt said, addressing a press conference at his Bandra residence on Saturday night.
He also said he was upset with the treatment meted out to Singh. “I am disturbed with the way the party has treated senior leader Amar Singh,” Dutt said, adding that his existence [in the party] depended on Singh’s future.
Dutt said he would follow Singh’s advice before deciding whether to join another party.
The SP suffered its first blow when Singh — the party’s general secretary, national spokesman and a member of SP’s Parliamentary Board — quit all party posts on January 6, citing health reasons. Singh has retained his party membership, and thus, his seat in the Rajya Sabha.
Singh was instrumental in bringing Dutt, actress Nafisa Ali and popular Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari into the party. Dutt had entered the party just before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and had planned to contest from Lucknow. The Supreme Court, however, did not allow this because Dutt had legal cases pending against him.
Singh, who has strong connections with Bollywood and the business world, brought funds and glamourous faces into the party. Other high profile SP leaders and Singh loyalists like Jaya Bachchan, Jaya Prada and Radhey Mohan Singh (Ghazipur MP) are expected to leave the party now.
Singh’s resignation is yet to be accepted. On Saturday, SP chief Mulayam Singh’s brother and party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav brought family differences out in the open by saying that the party leadership should accept Singh’s resignation.
Ram Gopal, who is also the SP Parliamentary party leader, dismissed suggestions that Singh’s resignation would cause any damage to the party or affect fund raising. “This is a myth. Mulayam Singh has twice been the Uttar Pradesh chief minister without Amar Singh’s help”.
The split between the Yadav clan and Singh surfaced after Yadav’s daughter-in-law, Dimple lost the Lok Sabha by-elections from Firozabad in November 2009. Singh had blamed Yadav’s “over-confidence” for the debacle.
The comments had ruffled feathers within the SP.