Debating India

SAMAJWADI PARTY

Amar snipe might cost Babbar dear

Sunday 5 February 2006, by CHATURVEDI*Hemendra

Agra, February 5, 2006 : The hero is whipping up dust on his turf. And the city of the Taj is squirming. Actor Raj Babbar, who is playing his second innings as the MP from Agra, has taken on Samajwadi Party behemoth Amar Singh. And the rift is out in the open.

Last week, the actor-MP launched a veiled attack on Amar Singh at a function organized to inaugurate a local power project last week. And the snipe evoked instant reaction.

Though the actor enjoys clout locally, the party unit had to toe the Lucknow line as the subject of Babbar’s caustic remark was none other than Amar Singh. Branding him an agent of the Congress, the Agra unit asked him to quit.

Agra was a BJP bastion as its MP, Bhagwan Shankar Rawat won it thrice in a row but it ended with the emergence of Raj Babbar in the political scenario. Even Samajwadi Party leaders admit, although in guarded manner that it was Babbar, who returned the seat to the Samajwadi Party twice on the strength of his charisma.

The cine star still enjoys popularity despite negative publicity about his long absence from the city. His absence even during senior party leaders’ visit gave his rivals in the party ammunition to target him with. But nobody guessed that he was drifting from the party till the routine inauguration.

District SP president, Ram Sakal Gujjar flayed Babbar for defying the party which made him MP at Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. City unit chief, Rajendra Sharma organised a meeting just to criticize Babbar for breaching party discipline.

The rift augurs ill for the actor for UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has warned party workers against him. Addressing a rally in Mainpuri on Sunday, the chief minister, while praising general secretary Amar Singh, said some leaders had been trying to harm the party. Without as much naming Babbar, he said workers should be on guard against anti-party activity.

See online : The Hindustan Times

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