The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 11 , 2014
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Tactical nest for Amar, Jaya

(From left) Jaya Prada, Ajit Singh and Amar Singh address a news conference in Delhi on Monday. Picture by Yasir Iqbal

New Delhi, March 10: Amar Singh today joined Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal after his expected entry into the Congress did not materialise.

Amar took along actress and Rampur MP Jaya Prada who was earlier expected to contest from Moradabad constituency in place of Mohammed Azharuddin. The former cricket is hankering for a safe seat.

Congress sources revealed that Amar remained a friend despite his inability to join the party and the RLD option should be viewed as a tactical adjustment. The Congress was unable to offer the duo the constituencies of their liking. Also, the party’s prospects in western Uttar Pradesh do not seem very bright.

The RLD may field Amar from Fatehpur and Jaya from Bijnore. The Congress has left eight seats for the RLD in the state.

Amar, who had a bitter separation from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, sent out positive vibes to the Congress, saying he had high regards for party head Sonia Gandhi and would do whatever she expects of him.

He has had a strained relationship with the Congress too and his famous “Italian” barbs at Sonia have not yet been forgotten. However, he worked hard over the last few years to repair the ties with the national party. Today also, he apologised for making uncharitable remarks about Sonia.

Describing RLD chief Ajit as his “elder brother”, Amar supported his agenda for a separate Harit Pradesh. He refused to attack even BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, arguing that ideological differences didn’t mean personal enmity.

“It is politics, not gang war,” he quipped, choosing not to attack his bÍte noire Mulayam either. Amar was initially toying with the idea of contesting Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida) but the Fatehpur seat he has finally chosen has a large number of Rajput voters.

Jaya could have been accommodated from Moradabad by the Congress but opted to follow her political mentor Amar instead. She had earlier met Sonia and demanded Rampur where the Congress has fielded veteran leader Noor Bano’s son Naved Mian.

The Congress is looking for a candidate in Moradabad as sitting MP Azharuddin is scared of his unpopularity in the constituency.

The former cricketer had expressed his desire to contest from Bengal and the state unit promptly included his name in the list of probable candidates. However, his insistence for a safe seat, preferably in the Congress area of influence, has not gone down well with state unit chief Adhir Chowdhury.

Sources revealed the state unit is upset with Azharuddin, who is desperate to grab a launch pad to play his second innings in Parliament. Although the Congress is considering several seats for him, there were rumours that Azharuddin had even explored the possibility of a Trinamul ticket.