SP nominates party spokesman Mohan Singh

Actor-politician Jaya Bachchan has turned down her re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the Samajwadi Party.

Ms. Bachchan, who is abroad, on Thursday conveyed to party chief Mulayam Singh her “inability to accept” the offer.

Her present term ends in July.

In her place, the party has nominated senior leader Mohan Singh. He had been Lok Sabha member thrice, but lost the Deoria (Uttar Pradesh) seat in the 2009 general elections. He is the party's national spokesman. Rashid Masood is the other party nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh scheduled for June 17.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Bachchan “thanked Mr. Mulayam Singh and the party” for offering her a second term in the Rajya Sabha, but said she was “unable to accept” the same. She wished the party well.

Ms. Bachchan's renomination was seen as a surprise move, but informed sources said the party wanted a “credible and visible” woman face in the Upper House. It was also largely seen as a rebuff to Mr. Mulayam Singh's one-time close aide Amar Singh, considered close to the Bachchan family.

At a public rally here a few weeks ago, Mr. Amar Singh had regretted that Ms. Bachchan was not sharing the dais with him. Writing on his blog on Thursday, Mr. Amar Singh congratulated Ms. Bachchan “for her successful politics.”

However, Ms. Bachchan declined to comment on that.

“Family reasons”

Atiq Khan reports from Lucknow:

While Samajwadi leaders in Lucknow kept mum on the reasons for her turning down the re-nomination, reliable sources said Ms. Bachchan attributed her decision to “family reasons.” The sources said Mr. Mulayam Singh was probably aware that Ms. Bachchan would be reluctant to contest the elections with Mr. Amar Singh having been shown the door in February.

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