The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bullock cart' Amar swoons

New Delhi/Lucknow, Oct. 3: So what if 70 schoolchildren passed out after waiting for him in the blazing sun for over three hours' Amar Singh can’t possibly trundle in a bullock cart, can he'

The day after the Gandhi Jayanti scorcher at Green Park, the Samajwadi Party leader held the weather, the army, the media and the BJP ' not necessarily in that order ' guilty.

All the blame was on the weather ' why did the sun beat down so hard' ' and the army ' it didn’t allow his plane to land ' and the media and the BJP, which were needlessly making a mountain out of a molehill.

“I took off from here (New Delhi) on time, but in Kanpur I was not allowed to land because the army had started some kind of drill there. I had to go to Lucknow and hire a helicopter to reach Kanpur.

“You can’t possibly expect Amar Singh to go in a baell gari (bullock cart),” he told a news conference in Delhi.

Finally, he did capitulate and say “all right, it was my fault, I am sorry”, but that took endless badgering and needling by journalists.

Nor did 70 of 10,000 schoolchildren, gathered to perform at a programme where he was chief guest, falling ill seem any big deal to him.

“There was enough water. Only a few kids suffered among the thousands who were there,” he said.

“In fact, some came and took Jaya Prada’s autograph after that. It is only the media and the politicians who are cribbing. The children’s parents have no complaints.” The actor-turned-MP was one of the VIPs who attended the meeting in Kanpur.

Earlier, Amar Singh refused to field queries on the incident. “This is a press conference on Iran. I won’t answer other questions,” he said, as though ailing children were of less consequence than the Vienna atomic energy meet.

“The uncrowned king of UP obviously felt children did not carry vote. Children are voiceless and voteless,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

Amar Singh’s comments found an echo in Kanpur DM Deepak Kumar’s, who had promised a probe yesterday.

“The children have gone home safe. What is the inquiry supposed to do now'” Kumar asked.

And what of the bullock cart' What’s so bad about travelling in it, especially on Gandhi Jayanti and in a country where thousands use it daily'

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