The actor-politician, who was accompanied by some party legislators, said she would work with Mr. Amar Singh in Lok Manch, a non-political outfit, in raising problems of the common people.

Samajwadi Party MP from Rampur Jayaprada on Sunday defended the actions of the party’s former general secretary, Amar Singh, and appealed to the leadership to prevent his detractors from “maligning” him.

“I respect party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. He is like a father figure to all of us in the SP, and though I am too small a leader to speak to him directly on this matter, I urge him to intervene and stop such attacks on Mr. Amar Singh within the party,” she said, talking to journalists here.

Ms. Jayaprada said that despite ill-health, Mr. Amar Singh had worked selflessly for the SP, and even campaigned for its candidates in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha elections in 2009. His resignation from the party posts on health grounds was politicised, she said.

She wondered who gave the new general secretary and spokesman, Mohan Singh, the powers to seek Mr. Amar Singh’s resignation from the Rajya Sabha. “How can the statements he has been making against Mr. Amar Singh be described as the party’s viewpoint?” Continued attacks by Mr. Mohan Singh on Mr. Amar Singh could not be tolerated, she said.

However, she made it clear that she was not quitting the party. Mr. Amar Singh, too, would not resign from the Rajya Sabha, she added.

To support Lok Manch

Ms. Jayaprada said she would work with Mr. Amar Singh in the Lok Manch, a non-political outfit, floated to highlight the problems of the poor. Some party MLAs, including Sandeep Agarwal from Moradabad, were present at the news conference she held.

Asked whom she would choose between Mr. Amar Singh and Mr. Mulayam Singh, Ms. Jayaprada said: “Mr. Amar Singh supported me when some party leaders were attacking me during the Lok Sabha elections. Now when he is in trouble, I am supporting him... but that does not mean that we will leave the party. We are not against Mr. Mulayam Singh.”