In what is seen as the first show of solidarity in the Samajwadi Party after the expulsion of Amar Singh, MLAs and MPs got together at a dinner party held here on Thursday to express their loyalty to party president Mulayam Singh.
Mr. Mulayam Singh attended the party, which continued till midnight. As the guests left, satisfied with the outcome and the lavish spread, they seemed to suggest that the Samajwadi Party is in order, and Mr. Amar Singh’s exit has had no impact on it.
The dinner was hosted by Raghuraj Pratap Singh also known as Raja Bhaiyya, an Independent MLA from Kunda, at his newly-acquired bungalow at Cantonment. Raja Bhaiyya was among the host leaders who were considered close to Mr. Amar Singh.
Though not in the Samajwadi Party, Raja Bhaiyya, hosted the dinner to dispel the doubts of cracks in the party following Mr. Amar Singh’s expulsion, and to give an opportunity to the former general secretary’s acolytes to pledge their faith in Mr. Mulayam Singh.
Helping the host were Arvind Kumar Singh ‘Gope,’ SP MLA from Haidergarh, and the former MLC, Yashwant Singh, who are also considered close associates of Mr. Amar Singh.
Mr. Mulayam Singh arrived at around 8 p.m. and stayed till 10 p.m. Mr. Mulayam Singh was followed by his brother and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Shivpal Singh Yadav. The president of the party’s state unit and Kannauj MP, Akhilesh Singh Yadav, arrived late and was seen telling the host and the guests that he had returned to Lucknow (from Gorakhpur) a short while ago and drove straight to the venue.
Also present were the MLA from Tiloi, Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh, Rajiv Singh, Om Prakash Singh and the Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Parishad, Ahmed Hasan. The MLA from Garh Mukteshwar, Madan Chauhan, too made an appearance. Mr. Chauhan was among the four SP MLAs, who were suspended from the party for backing Mr. Amar Singh.
Mr. Mulayam Singh refused to entertain questions from journalists, but he reminded Mr. Amar Singh to take care of his health.
These days, Mr. Mulayam Singh visits the party headquarters in Lucknow daily, and interacts with party workers and leaders.