How Amar shared dinner table with Sonia | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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How Amar shared dinner table with Sonia

PTI | ByVinod Sharma, New Delhi
May 18, 2004 02:04 AM IST

Time: 7.15 p.m. Place: Congress president Sonia Gandhi's study at 10, Janpath. The hostess watched in disbelief and so did her other guests as CPI-M general secretary H.S. Surjeet entered the spacious, book-lined room with the SP's Amar Singh and the RLD's Ajit Singh in tow.

Time: 7.15 p.m. Place: Congress president Sonia Gandhi's study at 10, Janpath. The hostess watched in disbelief and so did her other guests as CPI-M general secretary H.S. Surjeet entered the spacious, book-lined room with the SP's Amar Singh and the RLD's Ajit Singh in tow.

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HT Image

Sonia was in the middle of discussions with the Congress' pre-poll allies and was indeed expecting Surjeet for an extended session with the Left Front leaders. But neither had the Amar Singh-Ajit Singh duo been invited nor had anybody expected them to gatecrash the way they did.

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Amar Singh has since confirmed that he wasn't invited to the meeting. He and Ajit Singh accompanied Surjeet at the latter's behest to lend a 'helping hand' in raising a secular alliance against the communal BJP. "Or else, we would have been blamed for dissociating ourselves from the historic movement," he argued.  

But at Sunday's meeting, none among those present exchanged greetings with Amar Singh or even acknowledged his arrival. For a while, a visibly embarrassed Sonia looked the other way as he and Ajit Singh seated themselves with the Congress' pre-poll allies. The irony wasn't lost on the hostess and her allies, the SP having fielded 238 candidates across India, causing the defeat of the Congress, the NCP, the RJD and even the Left's candidates in Maharashtra, MP, Bihar and West Bengal.   

Even when Jairam Ramesh read out the draft of a resolution the secular allies later passed — supporting Sonia as Prime Minister — there was no mention in it of the SP and the RLD. Other leaders exchanged meaningful glances when Amar Singh brazenly remarked: "Ismey to hamara naam nahin hai."

At this point, Jairam looked at Sonia, who presented a straight face. It was left to the CPI's A.B. Bardhan to suggest that the SP's and the RJD's support be enlisted in the resolution Dr Manmohan Singh later read out to the media. The unease over the uninvited guests was as much palpable at the dinner — where Surjeet shared a table with Amar Singh and Ajit Singh. The NCP's Praful Patel and the LNJP's Ram Vilas Paswan had to be goaded by the hosts to give them company.

Surjeet's advocacy of the SP's share in power is resented even by his own party colleagues. They cite 15 candidates the SP gave in West Bengal as a proof of Mulayam Singh's proximity to the BJP through the interface of Amar Singh.

Even in the NCP circles, Amar Singh has come to be perceived as a "BJP mole". The SP hurt the prospects of Sharad Pawar's party in Maharashtra. In Bihar, the SP had also incurred the wrath of the RJD, the Congress and the Left by setting up candidates in all the 40 seats.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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