Party sources say differences between the two have reached a point of no return

Even as Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh tried to sweep national general-secretary Amar Singh’s resignation from party posts under the carpet by describing it as an “internal affair” of the SP, Mr. Amar Singh’s decision to quit has not surprised many in the party.

Confirming Mr. Amar Singh’s resignation, Mr. Mulayam Singh told journalists in Etawah that he would persuade Mr. Amar Singh to withdraw the resignation.

The SP chief said he would convene a meeting of the SP’s core committee on Mr. Amar Singh’s return (from Dubai). Mr. Mulayam Singh said Mr. Amar Singh had offered to resign earlier also, but each time he was convinced to reverse his decision.

While the SP took a politically correct line, party sources in Lucknow said the differences between the two leaders had almost reached a point of no return.

“Netaji [as Mr. Mulayam Singh is referred to] could ill-afford to ignore the resentment in the party against the overpowering influence of Mr. Amar Singh,” said an SP leader from eastern Uttar Pradesh on condition of anonymity. Opposition to Mr. Amar Singh was mainly from the party leaders from eastern Uttar Pradesh districts who were blamed for the present state of the party.

In fact, the SP general-secretary had said at a party function in Lucknow in November last that leaders from Ballia (Bihar), Deoria (Bihar) and Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh) were particularly angry with him and blamed him for the mess in the party.

It was at the same function — to felicitate Abu Asim Azmi — that Mr. Amar Singh had stated he would not share the dais till the SP returned to power in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Amar Singh was blamed for the exit of former party stalwarts like Beni Prasad Verma, Raj Babbar and Mohammad Azam Khan. Mr. Khan’s exit from the SP following differences with Mr. Amar Singh over Jaya Prada’s candidature in Rampur during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections proved harmful for the SP chief, as his once-trusted Muslim vote bank deserted the party.

Mr. Khan is reported to have said in Rampur on Wednesday that Mr. Amar Singh’s resignation had come a little too late.

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