Once a close friend of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and now sidelined, Amar Singh has spoken about a whole range of topics in a recent interview. Here are excerpts from the interview:
You are known as the man who knows too much. What was the Samajwadi Party imbroglio all about?
This is a matter of great complexity, but there’s a lot of confusion too. Let me explain the genesis of the problem: Mulayam Singh Yadav was the undisputed leader of the party and, to be fair to him, it was his sweat and blood. He is an earthy, pragmatic politician who lives and sleeps politics. I met him in the mid-’90s and we were very, very close, inseparable until we parted in 2009. What I lacked, he had in him, and vice versa…
You complemented each other?
Yes, but in the process, the SP [Samajwadi Party], being a family party where every other member of the family is somebody, there were bound to be clashes. There is a popular saying in politics: “Enemies are enemies, but friends are jealous.” So a lot of family members, particularly Ram Gopal Yadav [Mulayam Singh Yadav’s first cousin], who was supposed to handle the party’s affairs in Delhi, was very unhappy, but because of Mulayam’s humongous influence plus delivery he was forced to stay mum. For, whether Mulayam Singh was in power or not, he always remained a factor in national politics. All non-Congress and non-BJP governments were formed because of his active participation. But Ram Gopal, who believed he was learned, scholarly, polished and honest, began to feel left out, and the conspiracy to get rid of me started way back in 2009.
But that is expected right?
No, this would not have happened if he did not have the blessing of the late Jnaneshwar Mishra, who was also unhappy because of the influence I was wielding on Mulayam Singh Yadav. And of the late Mohan Singh and Brij Bhushan Tiwari, all hardcore socialists who didn’t want the socialist movement to get embroiled with the glitterati of Delhi. You see, Mulayam Singh’s family loved Bollywood and became very fond of the glamour and glitz. They started the annual Saifai festival where film stars, socialites and tycoons came every year. So, their [socialist leaders’] opposition to me was ideological because they were hardcore Lohiaites, and they disliked the glitz and glamour, even at the cost of being non-pragmatic.
What happened in 2009?
The opposition was brewing, Ram Gopal added fuel to this fire and in 2009, all of them ganged up and forced Mulayam Singh to expel me.
But you both were inseparable, how did they succeed?
Only recently, Mulayam Singh told me that “the difference between you and me is that you do personalised politics. First of all, you are in politics because you consider me a friend, and so, for the sake of friendship you can sacrifice politics. But I am into hardcore politics,” he said, “and for the sake of political gain I will sacrifice friendship. This is the difference between us”.
Ram Gopal Yadav and his faction in the Samajwadi Party say you are a BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh agent?
This is absolute nonsense, it is actually Ram Gopal who is hobnobbing with the BJP, and the recent example is the botched mahagathbandhan [grand alliance] in Bihar. The alliance was born in the house of Mulayam Singh, everyone accepted Mulayam Singh as the undisputed leader and was ready to contest on a common symbol. But Ram Gopal came out with the statement that it is like “signing my own death warrant”.
This is because there’s a corrupt Noida engineer called Yadav Singh, also Mayawati’s Man Friday, who had a special delivery vehicle called Vinod Shah to run his corrupt practices. [Yadav Singh, former Noida engineer-in-chief without an engineering degree, and who has served six chief ministers, is now lodged in Dasna jail, Ghaziabad, after being arrested early last year in a multi-crore scam]. Shah created a company for Ram Gopal’s son and daughter-in-law – Akshay Yadav [a Samajwadi Party MP] and Richa Ahulwalia – and became a director. Vinod Shah is a common director for Ram Gopal’s family and Mayawati’s family, her brother Anand [Kumar]. Yadav Singh is equally close to Ram Gopal’s set up and Mayawati’s set up. Rama Raman, CEO of Noida [who was also shunted out of the post under a cloud of corruption but later reinstated] was equally close to Ram Gopal and Akhilesh Yadav. Navneet Sehgal [a powerful bureaucrat] was equally close to Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.