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From stars to Tihar, Amar Singh's fall from grace

Tuesday September 06, 2011 08:01:22 PM, IANS

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Rajya Sabha member and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh became the latest high-profile politician to be sent to Tihar Jail after he alongwith two former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs was arrested Tuesday and sent to judicial custody for alleged   

New Delhi: Amar Singh, who stole the limelight as a political heavyweight and a friend of corporate honchos and Bollywood stars, fell a long way from grace Tuesday when a court sent him to Tihar Jail on charges of corruption.

For years, Amar Singh, now 55, was among the most vocal voices in Indian politics and parliament, one who took on all and sundry, just about anyone who disagreed with him.

He mocked at Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her Italian origins (before making a U-turn) and made fun of even the tallest leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

At other times, he took on Lalu Prasad, Mayawati and friends-turned-foes, the Marxists.

Amar Singh acquired an enviable political clout that arose from his mysterious proximity to Samajwadi Party chief and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

In the process, despite being a late entrant, he secured a veto power in the party, much to the chagrin of old time socialists.

He also played a key role in the coalition politics of the 1990s that saw two short-lived United Front governments.

When the Samajwadi Party ruled Uttar Pradesh (2002-07), Amar Singh was Mulayam's pointsman in the national capital.

He used the occasion to host former US president Bill Clinton in Lucknow.

Amar Singh's first major setback came when tapes of his telephonic conversations with several people, including Bollywood actresses, emerged. He battled hard to keep them confidential but eventually lost the case.

Amar Singh's fall began in 2009 when Mulayam's daughter-in-law Dimple lost to Raj Babbar in the Firozabad Lok Sabha by-election.

Dimple's husband Akhilesh Yadav blamed Amar Singh for the defeat. And once he lost the protection of Mulayam, Amar Singh's world crashed.

But knowing his ways, no one wanted to touch him.

Amar Singh was arrested on charges of arranging money that was given to BJP MPs allegedly to vote for the government during a July 2008 parliament vote -- over the India-US nuclear deal.

Born in Aligarh, Amar Singh, who originally hails from eastern Uttar Pradesh, started off as a small-time businessman and worked as a Congress functionary before gravitating towards Mulayam Singh.

In political circles, Amar Singh used media savvy skills to propel the Samajwadi Party from an Uttar Pradesh-centric party to the national stage.

Always dressed in crisp kurtas, except when he went to Page 3 parties, Amar Singh was often seen in the company of top corporates and film stars.

He called Amitabh Bachchan his brother -- and was linked with a few actresses. After Mulayam Singh, his closest companion was Jaya Pradha, a one time Bollywood star.

When he quit the Samajwadi Party, she followed him. On Tuesday, however, he was all alone when he went to Tihar Jail -- save two former MPs of the BJP.



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