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Happy Birthday to the controversial Amar Singh

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Amar Singh

By Harshmeet Singh

The former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh has long been a mercurial figure in the Indian Politics. Never the one who can be kept out of the news, Singh has had his fair share of political controversies in the past. As he gets ready to celebrate his 60th birthday today, NewsGram is bringing to you the top five controversies related to Singh’s career.

1. Cash for vote scandal

In 2008, a bag filled with cash rocked the floor of the Parliament. The cash for vote scandal took place during the UPA government’s floor test in the Lok Sabha. Singh was charged with arranging the entire scandal and he was later charge-sheeted for the same.

2. The Clinton Cash

photo credit: www.ibtimes.com

Written by Peter Schweizer, the Book Clinton Cash alleged that Amar Singh donated a sum ranging between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2008. The donation was made during the ongoing discussions on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Hilary Clinton’s support for the bill led to it being passed by a huge majority. Her support to the bill was linked to Singh’s donation. Schweitzer mentioned in his book, “If true, that meant Singh had given between 20% and 100% of his entire net worth to the Clinton Foundation!” 

3. Flip flop with Mayawati

In 2008, Singh accused Mayawati, the erstwhile UP CM, of kidnapping six MPs belonging to the Samajwadi Party just before a trust vote in the parliament. The six MPs were later on expelled from the party! While the two have always shared a cold relationship since then, Singh took a u-turn in 2010 when he praised Mayawati as a ‘political personality in her own right’.

4. Jaya Prada may commit suicide: Amar Singh

Politicians go to any length when it comes to election campaigning. This was Singh’s moment of ‘going to any extent!’

Before the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, while campaigning for Jaya Prada, he said, “If you people do not vote for the bicycle (symbol of Samajwadi Party) and her bicycle does not go to Delhi, then Jaya Prada might commit suicide.”

5. Judge-fixing

A CD containing recorded voices of Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh and Shanti Bhushan came out in 2011. During the conversation, Bhushan could be heard saying that they can bribe the judge with Rs 4 crore to get a favorable decision.

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Happy Birthday Mayawati, How well do you know her?

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By Harshmeet Singh

Rags to riches story, self-obsession, endless controversies and much more, Mayawati’s life is a case study in itself. The Dalit icon and 4 times UP Chief Minister, Mayawati has made her mark in the state and national politics alike.

As she and her followers prepare to celebrate her 60th birthday today, NewsGram brings to you seven relatively unknown facts about the lady who once ruled UP with an iron hand.

  • A WikiLeaks cable in 2011 alleged that she sent her private jet to Mumbai just to bring her a specific pair of sandals! She refused these allegations.
  • After Kanshi Ram’s death, his family members wanted a post-mortem as they suspected foul play. Last year, his sister, Swarn Kaur accused Mayawati of murdering him. She said, “Kanshi Ram was a leader for you but he was a brother for me. Mayawati backstabbed him and destroyed his movement. She murdered him.”
  • The Forbes magazine named her the 59th most powerful women in the world in 2008! The Newsweek also called her the ‘Barack Obama of India’. P.V. Narsimha Rao, the former PM described her rise as the ‘miracle of democracy’.

  • In 1977, the famed Dalit leader Kanshi Ram visited her home in Delhi while she was preparing for the Indian Administration Services examination. He allegedly told her, “I can make you such a big leader one day that not one but a whole row of IAS officers will line up for your orders.”
  • mayawati

    She has been notoriously known for spending fortunes on the statues of Kanshi Ram, herself and her party’s symbol, elephant! She justified the expenditure claiming that this needed to be done since the past governments neglected the Dalit icons! It is said that she spent close to $1 billion on 5 parks and memorials in Lucknow from 2007 to 2009.

  • She has been known for grand birthday celebrations. Before her 47th birthday, her party workers collected Rs 4 crore from the public to celebrate her birthday with grandeur.
  • To satisfy her supporter base, the Mayawati government, in 2007, introduced a 30% reservation in jobs in the private sector. Another quota law was brought in for promotions, but it was later quashed by the Supreme Court of India.

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Expulsion of two Akhilesh proteges revoked by Mulayam Singh

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Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh revoked the expulsion of two of his close proteges, Sunil Singh Sajan and Anand Bhadauria, an official spokesman said.

The two were booted out of the party last week following complaints that they had opposed official party candidates in the polls for ‘zila panchayat’ chairmen.

The expulsion had stunned the party cadres as the two were considered the closest associates of the chief minister.

After the action was announced by PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, the chief minister went into a sulk and for the first time skipped the Saifai Mahotsava, baring in open the simmering differences between Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh.

The sources said that some family members, mainly the young leaders, communicated to the chief minister that the two need to seek forgiveness from Mulayam Singh and then the SP chief would be cajoled into bringing them back into the party fold.

Following the plan, while Akhilesh went to the Saifai Mahotsava after six days of absence, Mulayam also turned ‘soft’ at the persuasion of senior leaders that the incident was sending a wrong message to the people and the party rank and file, especially since the state assembly elections were just a year away.

Finally, Shivpal Singh Yadav announced the revoking of Sunil Singh Sajan and Anand Bhadauria’s expulsion late Friday.(IANS)

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

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Lucknow: 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.

Photo credit: oneindia.com
Photo credit: oneindia.com

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”.

“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!

(Mohit Dubey, IANS)