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Amar Singh, ex-Rajya Sabha MP and Samajwadi Party leader, passes away at 64 after prolonged illness

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Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh passed away on Saturday after a prolonged illness. Singh was 64.

Media reports said Singh was undergoing treatment at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital for the past seven months.

Singh had been suffering from kidney ailments for a long time and had undergone a transplant in 2009 and again in 2018.

Earlier in March this year, when rumours of his death were doing the rounds, Singh had released a video on social media revealing he was unwell but alive. In the video captioned "Tiger zinda hai" Singh looked frail but asserted, "There is enough courage, enthusiasm and spirit left in me and my treatment is underway. Hopefully, with Goddess Bhavani’s blessings, I will return with double energy."

Tiger Zinda Hai!! pic.twitter.com/YWm3Sb0Yuw

— Amar Singh (@AmarSinghTweets) March 2, 2020

A colourful and flamboyant politician who often did not pay much heed to demands of political correctness in his interactions, including with media, Amar Singh shot into the league of political bigwigs as SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav's confidant.

Many believed that Yadav liked Amar Singh for his cross-party and industry links, and go-getter attitude that helped his party navigate demands of realpolitik.

He is believed to have played a crucial role in swinging the Samajwadi Party''s support for the UPA in 2008 after the Left parties withdrew their support due to their opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

In 2015, a book by an American author claimed that Amar Singh contributed between USD 1 million and USD 5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2008.

The author also speculated whether Amar Singh "was a conduit for other powerful interests in India pushing for approval of the nuke deal." Singh had denied allegations.

However, with the emergence of Akhilesh Yadav as the main face of the Samajwadi Party and his aging father Mulayam's control declining, Amar Singh''s influence started waning.

With opposition to him growing within the party, Amar Singh was first expelled from the party in 2010. Later, his name emerged in the alleged cash-for-vote scam and he was arrested in 2011.

Amar Singh did not spare even Mulayam Singh Yadav as he fought for political relevance, and he was back in favour with the party patriarch after a few years of political oblivion.

It was said Yadav needed him as much as he needed him, and he was sent to the Rajya Sabha again in 2016.

During his first stint with the SP from 1996 to 2010, Amar Singh built an extensive network for the party, and was often spotted with celebrities, from the Bachchans to Subrata Roy.

But as Akhilesh Yadav got control of the party, he was expelled again in 2017.

Since then he had warmed up to Prime Minister Modi and the RSS, and announced his decision to donate his ancestral properties in Azamgarh to the Hindutva organisation.

He counted megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his family as friends before they had a fall out. Bachchan's wife and actor Jaya Bachchan remains a Rajya Sabha member of the Samajwadi Party.

However, in February this year, Singh took to Twitter to regret his "overreaction" against Amitabh Bachchan.

"Today is my father''s death anniversary and I got a message for the same from Senior Bachchan ji. At this stage of life when I am fighting a battle of life and death I regret for my overreaction against Amit ji and family. God bless them all," Singh had said on Twitter.

With inputs from PTI

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