Amar Singh, Rajya Sabha member and former Samajwadi Party leader, died in Singapore on Saturday, where he was undergoing treatment. He was 64.
As a former lieutenant of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh emerged as an important player in Delhi’s political circles, first during the United Front government in 1996-98 and later during the second half of UPA 1. Singh and Mulayam got the SP to extend support to the Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2008 when UPA had to win a crucial trust vote following the Left parties’ withdrawal of support over the deal.
Amar Singh, known to have connections across political lines and beyond, had slipped into political wilderness for the last few years following his bitter fallout with the Mulayam Singh Yadav family, which resulted in his expulsion from the SP in 2010.
Singh floated his own political party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, in 2011, and fielded candidates in 360 of the 403 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2012 assembly polls. However, his party did not win a single seat. He then joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh in March 2014, contested the general elections that year from Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh, and lost.
Despite the falling out, Mulayam Singh again elected him to Rajya Sabha in 2016 amid stiff opposition from a section of the party, including the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav. He was also reinstated as one of the general secretaries of the party in October 2016.
Apart from being a politician, Singh was an industrialist too and was known to have shared very close relations with the Bachchans, Anil Ambani and many leading personalities of business and film world.
Singh, who started his career as a Congress activist in Kolkata during his student days, was very close to Amitabh Bachchan, with whom he had a falling out. But the two patched up in January 2020 when Singh took to Twitter to say that he regretted his ‘overreation against’ Amitabh Bachchan and the Bachchan family.
“Today is my father’s death anniversary and I got a message for the same from @SrBachchan ji. At this stage of life when I am fighting a battle of life and death I regret for my over reaction against Amit ji and family. God bless them all (sic),” wrote Singh on Twitter.
The “battle of life and death” Singh referred to was the kidney ailment he had been battling past many years. He underwent a kidney transplant in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Medical Centre in 2009. He was again hospitalised in Singapore since February.