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Amar Singh dares Maya

Monday 14 May 2007

New Delhi: A day after BSP leader Mayawati took over the reins of Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh finally breaks his silence, denies reports that he went underground after the party’s defeat and was planning to flee the country.

In an interview with us , a defiant Singh dares Mayawati to send him and his party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to jail.

Accusing Mayawati of practising vendetta politics, Singh claims the real defeat in Uttar Pradesh was not of the Samajwadi Party but of the Sonia-Rahul combine and the BJP.

Given below are the excerpts from the interview:

On Mayawati sending him to jail

I will feel very happy if I am sent to jail. Jail is a very nice place. Mayawati will do a good service to me by sending me to jail.”

On running away from the country

There is no question of my running away from the country and I am not a criminal that I will have to leave this country. Victory and loss is a part and parcel of democracy. Mayawati lost her share, she did not leave the country. So there is no reason for me to leave the country.

On the reason for electoral defeat

Actually, I would say if we hadn’t worked so hard, things would have been worse. Because I don’t understand why media went gung ho with 12-hour daily coverage and OB vans for live telecast of Rahul baba (Gandhi). The dimple on his cheeks became national news. His pompous statement that we (Gandhi family) have broken Pakistan and all the other tal claims. The truth is that percentage has gone down and so have the seats. Congress is totally routed. So now every channel is saying it was Rahul baba’s fault and that he had no base. So I am not going to go on a defensive.”

Did the Amitabh Bachchan campaign backfire? No, not at all. At the best you can say that our social engineering backfired. In a TV debate I said more than development, it’s the social engineering that matters and I maintain that. If development would have been the sole criteria, then Chandrababu Naidu would have never lost to a Rajashekhar Reddy.

Mr Bachchan never campaigned for Samajwadi Party. He campaigned as the brand ambassador for Uttar Pradesh.

Rajdeep Sardesai: But the ad campaign had a Samajwadi Party logo, and Bachchan said things like, “UP mein dum hai kyunki zurnm yahan kam hai (UP packs a punch as crime rates are low here)”. It was a clear campaign for the Samajwadi Party.

He never took SP’s name at all and the ad that he did for UP was sponsored by Samajwadi Party. This was because otherwise my opponents would have said that government exchequer is misused.

Rajdeep Sardesai: You don’t accept that the campaign failed and that it backfired?

No, I don’t think it backfired because there was no alternative. From Atal Behari Vajpayee to Advani ji to Rahul ji to Mayawati ji to Sonia ji and V P Singh ji and our own dissidents were collectively targeting. Had there not been this complaint, things could have been worst.

Is it the defeat of SP’s gundaraj?

Well if that’s the case then the so-called dons – be it Amarmani Tripathi or Samajwadi Party or Raja Bhaiyya who’s a SP-supported person or Mukhtar Ansari, an independent or DP Yadav and his wife – not a single don has lost. This Anand Yadav who has been convicted in Section 302 in a murder case has been declared a Cabinet minister. He has been shifted from jail to hospital. So it’s not gundaraj of Mayawati, it’s not gundaraj of mafia dons, it’s the gundaraj of Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh? This is very disgusting.

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