Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh who died in Singapore on Saturday where he was undergoing treatment. Singh is known for wielding immense influence in power circles as a close aide of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.
A colourful and flamboyant politician who often did not pay much heed to demands of political correctness in his interactions, including with media, Singh shot into the league of political bigwigs as Yadav’s confidant. Many believed that Yadav liked Singh for his cross-party and industry links, and go-getter attitude that helped his party navigate demands of realpolitik.
“Amar Singh Ji was an energetic public figure. In the last few decades, he witnessed some of the major political developments from close quarters. He was known for his friendships across many spheres of life. Saddened by his demise,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
Singh is believed to have played a crucial role in swinging the SP’s support for the UPA in 2008 after the Left parties withdrew their support due to their opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal.
However, with the emergence of Akhilesh Yadav as the main face of the SP and his aging father Mulayam’s control declining, Singh’s influence started waning. With opposition to him growing within the party, Singh was first expelled in 2010. Later, his name emerged in the alleged cash-for-vote scam and he was arrested in 2011.
Singh did not spare even Mulayam Singh Yadav as he fought for political relevance, and he was back in favour with the party patriarch after a few years of political oblivion. It was said Yadav needed him as much as he needed him, and he was sent to the Rajya Sabha again in 2016.
During his first stint with the SP from 1996 to 2010, Singh built an extensive network for the party, and was often spotted with celebrities, from the Bachchans to Anil Ambani to Subrata Roy. But as Akhilesh Yadav got control of the party, he was expelled again in 2017.