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Raj gets stick for Amar outburst
- MP suspended as party sniffs Cong link

New Delhi, Feb. 7: Raj Babbar today got the stick from his party for calling Amar Singh a “fixer”.

The actor-turned-MP was suspended from the Samajwadi parliamentary party after he launched a fresh attack against Amar today, demanding the general secretary’s removal for promoting a “broker culture” and “weakening” the party’s secular credentials.

The suspension letter signed by Ramgopal Yadav, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, accused the two-time Agra MP of being hand-in-glove with the Congress.

Babbar will now face a three-member committee headed by senior party leader Mohan Singh. The committee would go into the “entire conspiracy” that led to his outbursts, the letter said.

The MP, however, was unrepentant, even sarcastic. “It feels good. I accept this (the suspension),” he said. There were several senior party leaders who felt “marginalised” by the “fixer and middlemen culture”, he added.

Only yesterday, Babbar had met Samajwadi Party chief and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. He had continued to back his general secretary, though Babbar said today that he regards the party chief as his “elder brother”.

The suspension letter said Babbar had levelled “baseless charges” against Amar and the party “which was certainly an act of indiscipline”. “Your action becomes all the more serious, as prima facie, it is being felt that your statements have come at the behest of the Congress,” it added.

The others on the three-member panel are Rajya Sabha member Shahid Siddiqui and Lok Sabha member Akhilesh Yadav. Akhilesh is Mulayam’s son.

Babbar’s revolt is the first open attack from within the Samajwadi Party against Amar, who has risen to prominence to become Mulayam’s Man Friday.

The suspension has also come at a time when the Samajwadi Party has had a poor showing in panchayat elections and was also defeated in two Assembly bypolls by arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party.

Soon after being suspended, Babbar went to the CPM headquarters to meet its leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury. He called it an effort to “bring together secular forces”. After the meeting, Babbar continued his tirade but said he would remain in the Samajwadi Party.

The Congress, which yesterday came out in Babbar’s support for exposing the “five-star culture” in the Yadav-led party, today kept a safe distance. Party leaders denied that Babbar had approached the Congress.

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