Blood will always be thicker
The day Amar Singh, Anil Ambani and Amitabh Bachchan had raised a toast to celebrate the ascent of their friend Mulayam Singh Yadav to the Chief Minister’s chair, people were reminded of the Bollywood blockbuster Amar, Akbar, Anthony.
Some enthusiast had even painted posters on them and their friendship. I happened to see one of them at Singh’s residence in Lucknow. They zealously read an inherent message in their coming together — Netaji’s socialism gets a Bollywood and a corporate touch.
But soon the trio decided to tread their independent path. Anil Ambani quit the Rajya Sabha seat that Mulayam had gifted. Amitabh preferred his wife and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan handle politics while he worked on the revival of his ABCL. Remember the lyrical lines on the channels in Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone voice, ‘Uttar Pradesh main hai dum, kyonki yahan zurm hai kum’ during the assembly polls. He was the brand ambassador of UP, the state where he was born.
And now it’s the turn of Amar Singh. The bonhomie has gone. Soon they will tread different political paths. In their own words, ‘I believe in looking ahead’ (Mulayam) while Amar remembered the famous lines, ‘Pathik ekla chalo.’
What puzzles me is that even a shrewd person like Amar didn’t know that in Indian politics blood is thicker than love and loyalty.
The tension between the two friends is not sudden. I remember my telephonic conversation with Amar Singh when discussions were going on on who would replace Chief Minister Mulayam if he decided to quit his chair and play a major role in national arena.
It was late in the night when Amar had called up. My question was obvious, the reply shocking. “Why Prof Ram Gopal is quite competent, he also handles Delhi for Mulayam?
After I dismissed the name saying Ram Gopal is more of an academician than a politician, Amar quipped, ‘Shivpal Singh Yadav and if not him then Akhilesh Yadav’. To my casual question as to why not Amar Singh, he had quipped, ‘because I am not a Yadav.”
Two days back when Amar on his return to Delhi was counting the family members holding various offices in the party I was instantly reminded of that night’s conversation.
Many may still believe that Amar would remain in the party as an ordinary worker, others may even predict the coming together of Amar-Mulayam, the fact is they have drifted apart and their supporters will try hard to widen the differences and not close them.
Why is Amar planning political programmes if he quit the posts on health grounds?
Amar had once told me, “The first thought to quit politics had come to me when I was in Singapore for treatment. Politics is very cruel. If something happens to me, the utmost the party would do is hold a condolence meeting. But it’s my family, my two daughters, who will suffer. Not the party. Look at the pressure on me. My children are small”.
Perhaps Amar’s calculations went haywire. One, he wrongly believed Mulayam would not find his replacement – in his words ‘someone who can fight legal battles, work on communication chemistry.’
Secondly, in believing friendship will be thicker than blood. Yes Mulayam did marginalize his senior leaders to keep him in good humour, but not when own blood is involved.
Thirdly, in believing that he has no stakes in politics as he neither aspire to be a Union minister or a Chief Minister.
Politics often puts forth much more than that. Who else knows is better than Amar Singh himself!