‘What is Amar Singh’s interest in Jayaprada?’

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Amar Singh has alleged that you have grown bigger than Mulayam Singh Yadav in the SP, that you are Mulayam’s weakness.
I am a poor man. After 34 years in politics, I don’t have a car or a big bank balance. I live within my means. But I have tremendous goodwill. The rich and their fixers attack me because I am pro-people and hugely popular.
The gentleman you name is widely described in politics by a word that I will not speak. He conspired to force the entry of Kalyan Singh, the murderer of the Babri Masjid, into the SP. It is critical to expose such people.
Amar Singh’s supporters say that you oppose the candidature of Jayaprada for the Rampur Lok Sabha seat. Is that true?
It is amazing how a private relationship can so influence a man that he is willing to put the entire party at stake for it. It compromises your dignity when your private relationship becomes a talking point. Why should he anyway want this so desperately? What is his interest in her?

But aren’t you holding the party to ransom by opposing Jayaprada’s candidature, dividing it deeply at the time of Lok Sabha elections?
There is no Jayaprada issue. The real issue is the entry of Kalyan Singh into the SP. I have deep respect for Mulayam Singh Yadavji, but I despair at what has happened to him.

The real issue is Kalyan Singh’s entry. I respect Mulayamji but I despair at what has happened to him

We must remember that even though Mulayamji saved the Babri Masjid in October 1990 by ordering police to fire [on the Kar Sevaks], the Muslims didn’t vote for the SP. The Muslims voted SP only after the mosque was demolished [in 1992].
Don’t you understand that the Muslims won’t vote for the SP if you keep Kalyan Singh in your party? It is said that Kalyan Singh is forgiven. How can the Muslims forgive him?
Will the Muslims then desert the SP?
Tragically, the Muslims see themselves as third-rate citizens. Who will speak for them if we won’t?

Have the Congress and the BSP made overtures to you to join them?
I am a useful man so obviously others think I’ll bring them benefits. But I have great personal regards for Netaji [Yadav]. I have toiled 18 years to consolidate the SP, and not as a wheelerdealer but as a grassroots politician. I have worked harder than Mulayamji to make the party what it is today.