In changed political landscape, will Amar-Mulayam 'bromance' bear fruit?

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Lucknow, Sept 20: It is undoubtedly the most keenly followed 'bromance' of Uttar Pradesh. Every time former Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh meets Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and members of his family, rumour mills work overtime to announce the imminent rapprochement between the one-time inseparable duo.

But despite half a dozen official meetings between the two sides and many secret ones, Amar Singh's re-entry into the party, where his writ ran till a few years ago, sources say, is no "cake walk". Having parted ways bitterly and acrimoniously a few years back, senior leaders of the ruling party say re-entry is "neither going to be easy nor welcome".

Mulayam Singh Yadav

"Why should he be brought back into the party fold? He has hurled the choicest expletives on our leadership, has tried all tricks up his sleeve to humiliate and run down the party, labelled us goons and crooks...for most of us, he continues to be a non-political entity and a pariah," a senior minister in the UP cabinet told IANS pleading anonymity given the sensitive nature of the issue. He, however, in the same breath, admitted that the SP chief had indeed gone 'mulayam' (soft) on the wily Thakur.

Sources inform that the nowhere Thakur for now is seeking greener pastures within his one-time alma mater, having failed to get success in all other parties - Congress, BJP where he tried his hands while in political wilderness.

"He has tried to cosy up to almost everyone from Sonia Gandhi to Narendra Modi and had, in fact, unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls last year on Ajit Singh's RLD ticket," said a senior leader, while trying to underline the 'grasshopper' tendencies of Amar Singh.

The SP leadership is not only wary of the Thakur but is also circumspect on the "take home" he brings while walking back into the party fold. Known for his networking in Bollywood and the political class while he was with the SP, insiders say Amar Singh has lost his utility for the party.

"Akhilesh Bhaiyya (Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav's son) is much more mature. He has his own set of officials and party leadership to move ahead. I do not see any vacancy for Amar Singh," a close aide of his chuckled.

Other stumbling blocks in Amar Singh's entry seemingly are party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and minister Mohd Azam Khan, whose hatred for Amar Singh is well-known and documented. The duo, who hold sway over the Yadav chieftain, are bitterly opposed to Amar Singh's re-entry and are said to be trying their best to stall any such move that is in the offing.

Khan and Ram Gopal were instrumental in getting Amar Singh kicked out of the party. Azam Khan and Ram Gopal, cousin of Mulayam, have in the past called him a "dalaal, pimp and good for nothing". While the public rant has stopped, apparently at the behest of Mulayam Yadav, the undercurrent against Amar Singh has not diminished. Sources also said that Akhilesh Yadav too is not favourably disposed towards "uncle Amar Singh".

Amar Singh met Akhilesh, Mulayam and Shivpal this week, but there has been very little headway except for niceties. Amar Singh, on his part, at least does not want to be appearing to prostrate before the Yadav durbar and has maintained that he is "happy" the way he is.

In a conversation a few months ago with this correspondent he said that he was "happy taking a back seat" from public life, spending quality time with his wife and twin daughters and caring for his health after his kidney transplant.

The lure of power and politics are, however, two great temptations, it is said. Only time will tell which way the tides turn in this endless political saga in Uttar Pradesh!

IANS

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