Sunday, January 10, 2010

What’s Up With Amar Singh & Jaya prada?

Amar Singh is not going anywhere
It would seem at first flush that Amar Singh has reached a dead end with Mulayam Singh & family aka as Samajwadi Party. Strong statements have been issued; threats made; and it appears as if the relationship between Mulayam Singh’s family led by his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav and the swinging Singh have reached a point of no return.
But it is highly unlikely that Mulayam would led Amar Singh sulk for long. For two reasons. One, the fight between Ram Gopal Yadav and Amar Singh is really a proxy battle between Mulayam’s extended family and his heir apparent, Akhilesh Yadav. Ram Gopal and party clearly don’t relish the idea of Mulayam anointing his son as his successor and leaving them perpetually in support roles. Since they can’t afford to take on Mualyam directly, attacking his man Friday—a man with little political base of his own—makes strategic sense. This battle was clearly seen in the recent by-election for the Firozabad Lok Sabha seat where Raj Babbar defeated Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav. This result was quite astonishing because Firozabad falls squarely in Mulayam’s Yadav stronghold and it is inconceivable Dimple could have lost without internal sabotage. In simple terms, this fight is no different from those witnessed in India’s other political families.
But there is an even stronger reason why Amar Singh is not going anywhere. Singh is the quintessential fixer which has become a fixture in Indian politics with the rise of what columnist Swapan Das Gupta terms transactional politics. Essentially, apolitical wheeler-dealers who nevertheless are essential for managing leaders’ finances, hold delicate political negotiations, and deal with the media. This need is more evident in the case of old-style politicians of the Hindi heartland who have yet to emerge as the entrepreneur-politician of the South.
Without Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh can still survive—after all, there is always a demand for fixers but what will Mulayam do without him? Much drama may ensue but in the end a rapprochement is the most likely result. Unless, of course, Akhilesh Yadav puts his foot down. Suave and well-versed in politics of modern era, the junior Yadav may have much less need for Amar Singh’s talents than his father.
Whatever may be the end result, for observer of Hindi heartland politics, continuous entertainment is guaranteed!