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Former Samajwadi Party Leader Amar Singh praises Narendra Modi, creates buzz in political circles

Lucknow, July 30: Former Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh may be down but not out, yet. Amid talk of a larger Opposition unity, Mahagathbandhan, or a federal front, Singh is quietly weighing his options. The fact is everyone in the Uttar Pradesh BJP is talking about Singh’s newfound love for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Quietly stoking Singh’s ambitions are two political realities of Uttar Pradesh: first, the socialist citadel of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party patriarch, lies almost in ruins following his parting of ways with his son and former Chief Minister Akhilesh. Second, and more significantly, is the kind of attention the erswhile acolyte of Mulayam was able to grab from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Sunday referred to Singh as one who held “many secrets of politician-industrialist hobnobbing behind the curtains.”
Singh told IANS that while he “certainly” had no plans to join the BJP, he indeed was “an admirer of Modi” and that “the rest of my life is dedicated to him.” He said he has started “thinking as an ordinary Indian voter” and sees Prime Minister Modi as the “best bet to take the country forward”.

His sudden effusiveness about Modi became self-evident when during an event in the state capital on Sunday, the Prime Minister walked up to him and shook hands. Referrring to the “unholy and opportunistic alliance” between his political alma mater SP and the BSP, he said it “could never be my choice”. He however ruled out any possibility of his immediate joining the BJP. “I am not aware of any such activity in the offing,” he said. Sources in the state BJP, who till recently were uncomfortable with the idea of the Thakur getting into the party fold, are now appriciative of his position.

Ruling party startegists went to the extent of comparing him with Vibhishan, the brother of Ravan, the demon-king of Lanka in the Ramayana who let out several secrets of his brother to Lord Rama. “Thakur-sahib has been the custodian of many secrets of the SP leaders for the past two decades and would definitely be an asset to the BJP as we gear up to take on the SP-BSP combine in 2019,” said a party general secretary.

Amar Singh’s proximity with another SP leader and estranged uncle of Akhilesh Yadav, Shivpal Singh, is well known. BJP leaders say they are hopeful that Thakur can stir up controversies in the Yadav clan again as he did in 2017 when the division in the Yadav family led to an electoral wipeout of the SP in the state Assembly elections. How well the BJP gameplan plays out or how the calculations of the ready-for-revenge Amar Singh pay off, only time will tell. But one party that finds itself in a tight spot following Singh’s remarks in the past two days is the state Samajwadi Party. (IANS)

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