Amar Singh cuts sorry figure at PM residence

New Delhi: The once confident Amar Singh was a pale shadow of his old self when the UPA celebrated nine years in power at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In contrast to the good old times when his image as a shadow of Mulayam Singh Yadav made him a much sought after politician, Amar Singh looked lost at the crowded event yesterday evening. At times he stood all alone amid the guests. Occasionally, someone would greet him. His political associate and MP Jayaprada, who is speculated to join the Congress, was also present.


With journalists outnumbered by politicians at 7, Race Course Road, many Congress leaders found a seat only in the media enclosure. Among these were Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma. Occasionally, Sibal tried to trigger applause by starting to clap. He gave up when he realised that people were not ready to emulate him — all the time.


Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah came with father and cabinet minister Farooq Abdullah. They walked in and quietly made it to the front rows of the media enclosure. They had just occupied the seats when a Congress emissary came rushing to escort the father to the dais and the young chief minister to a more vantage point.


Lalu Prasad knew where he was to sit. After chatting with journalists for a while, he made his way on his own to the dais, greeting those already seated there with folded hands. This was before Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi had come on the stage. When the prime minister was speaking, he kept a quiet conversation going with his Bihar chum Ram Vilas Paswan.


Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too kept chatting with A.K. Antony during much of the deliberations. Later, when journalists wanted to know what he was discussing, he said Antony was his political “guru” and he wanted to learn about the “general political situation”.


When it came to dinner time, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi occupied different tables. The prime minister was still responding to journalists when Gandhi began to eat — with Lalu Prasad on her side. But the media didn’t let her eat in peace. And she was obliging even as she tucked into rotis and curry.


There was clapping for both Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi but it was muted at times. The Congress president was a far better speaker. She was at her combative best while referring to the BJP. And naturally, seemed to have more followers in the Congress ranks than a prime minister who had completed nine years in office.


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