The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power couple in Mulayam crown

Lucknow, June 16: Mulayam Singh Yadav got Anil Ambani a ticket to the power circuit in Delhi and Anil Ambani is bringing power to Mulayam Singh at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.

There is no link between the two except that they happened on the same day. In the morning, Reliance Energy, a company Ambani heads, signed an agreement on building the world’s largest gas-based power plant in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

In the afternoon, he filed his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections on June 28 as an Independent. Amar Singh took pains to explain: “Let me make it clear. Anil Ambani is not a candidate from a political party. He is an Independent candidate supported by the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.”

They both belong to one other party, though — the 3As. It’s not quite into politics, but when two of the As are around, Anil and Amar, the third can’t be far behind. But he was. Amitabh Bachchan wasn’t present when “Allahabad ki bahu”, as Jaya — pallu demurely covering head — described herself, filed her papers, also as a Rajya Sabha nominee. She’s not an Independent, but a full-fledged Samajwadi candidate.

If Ambani brings power to Uttar Pradesh, Jaya comes with the glamour of her own multiplied several times by the Bachchan brand. None of the two belongs to Uttar Pradesh, though, a fact that could be cause of some pain in the future if the Supreme Court rules against Rajya Sabha members being nominated from states they are not domiciled in.

With Mulayam Singh on one side and Amar Singh on another, she completed the formalities without any of the other family members present. Tina, the former actor who married into the Ambani family, didn’t accompany her husband either.

But Ambani’s wife and Jaya’s husband graced the affidavits the respective spouses filed, declaring their personal wealth, which is now a part of Election Commission rules.

Has Amitabh Bachchan ever been seen wearing jewellery — unless knuckle-dusters in angry-young-man movies are called that' It may not make his angry image of yore any less angry, but the affidavit reveals Bachchan possesses ornaments, including diamonds, rubies, pearls and watches, worth Rs 93 lakh.

Did anyone say peanuts' Compared to Tina’s collection certainly but not for a man, no. The rich, however, buy jewellery as investment, not always to flaunt. Look at Anil Ambani, his ornaments, apparently there are some loose diamonds, too, are worth Rs 27.21 crore

His biggest ornament Tina’s jewellery box holds some Rs 64.80 crore worth of glitter. And why not' At the time of marriage, Ambani had described her as his most prized asset or some such thing.

Such adjectives did not escape Mulayam Singh’s lips when the power deal was initialled at the chief minister’s Kalidas Marg residence, but an 8000-mw plant at a cost of over Rs 10,000 crore in electricity-starved Uttar Pradesh would qualify for that description.

The chief minister thanked Reliance and Ambani called him a visionary in turn — “a man with vision who is bold and can take quick decisions”. Mulayam Singh’s face lit up as Ambani continued: “I am personally surprised by the speed with which his government expedited the formalities.”

Subroto Roy, the head of the Sahara group, chipped in with some praise of his own. Present at the signing ceremony, he said: “When the guardians are chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, the state can go very far in development.”

A few hours later, Ambani was escorted by Samajwadi leaders to the Assembly where the 45-year-old filed his nomination papers. The Samajwadi Party can send six candidates to the Upper House and had announced five names earlier. There was speculation that Roy would be one, but he was not.

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