Five years after he was unceremoniously shown the door by the now ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, Singh is back in business — partying with celebrities in Mumbai, accompanying business honchos on pilgrimages and giving the choicest responses to his political adversaries.
Clearly, the gift of gab refuses to leave the former Samajwadi Party general secretary who for years was considered the most trusted confidant of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Rumours of his return to the Samajwadi Party is now doing the rounds.
Singh said sarcastically that he was for now a ‘Non-Required Individual’ (NRI) for some Samajwadi Party leaders and added that he, on the advice of “friend and mentor Mulayam Singh Yadav”, would wait for another year before trying to return to the party.
“Netaji signed on my expulsion letter on my birthday (January 27) in 2010 which said I am being thrown out for six years… There is still a year left, and I do not want to embarrass Mulayam Singhji into revoking my expulsion as he is still my leader,” Singh told IANS in an interview.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has also “asked me to be patient,” Singh added.
Asked if the decision to expel him from the party hurt him, the ‘Thakur Saheb’ said that while the decision per se did not, the “flimsy reasons” given for his sacking did cause pain.
“It was ridiculous. It would have been better if the SP leadership had shown the guts and grace of simply telling me that I was no longer required,” he said.
Singh said he was accused of “corrupting the socialist ideology” of the Samajwadi Party by bringing in Bollywood stars into the party. This charge, he said, had been turned upside down as “even now film stars and item girls were dancing at SP functions and Saifai Mahotsava”.
Asked to comment on the performance of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, he said, albeit with a chuckle, that he would give “full marks” to the 43-year-old son of Mulayam Singh Yadav whom he calls his nephew. He said the chief minister had so far led a “non-controversial” government and that the power centres in the Samajwadi Party had changed.
“See, power centres are shifting everywhere… In BJP gone is the era of Atal-Advani, in Congress Ahmad Patel is history. In the SP, Mulayam-Amar are past, overtaken by Akhilesh Yadav-Rajendra Chowdhary-Abhishek Mishra.”
Singh added that Akhilesh Yadav had “mastered the art of modern politics”.
There is, however, no love lost between Singh and arch rival Mohammad Azam Khan, Uttar Pradesh’s powerful minister and the party’s most popular Muslim face.
Taking a dig at Khan’s threat to take the Dadri lynching of a Muslim man to the UN, Singh warned that he might again be strip-searched in the US.
He was referring to an earlier incident at a US airport where Khan was allegedly strip-searched while on a visit to Harvard University.
Khan then forced Akhilesh Yadav, who was accompanying him, to abort the trip and head home.