Lucknow: Amar Singh continued to be in the Samajwadi Party (SP) and there was "nothing big" if he quit from party posts, a seemingly unconcerned party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Thursday, a day after the surprise resignation by the high profile politician.
"Yes, I have received a letter," Mulayam Singh told reporters in Mainpuri district, about 200 km from Lucknow.
Amar Singh states in the missive that he is resigning from various posts in the party, Mulayam Singh confirmed and added: "So what? There's nothing big in it if an office bearer resigns from the party's posts... He is still with the Samajwadi Party."
"We will sit together and sort out the issue... it's an internal matter of the party," he said in reply to a question whether he would persuade Amar Singh to withdraw his resignation.
Asked whether Amar Singh had cited alleged differences with his brother and party senior leader Ram Gopal Yadav, the SP chief replied: "Band muthhi, dabi zabaan... ab yeh differences ki baat to sabhi jaante hai. (My lips are sealed... everybody knows about these differences)."
The SP chief refrained from commenting when asked whether Amar Singh had accused him and other senior leaders of the party of promoting members from the Yadav family. "I have nothing to say on this matter. I will not make any comments."
On Wednesday, Amar Singh threw the political establishment into a bout of fevered speculation when he announced his resignation as general secretary of his party and other posts, citing health reasons.
"I hardly had any rest. Doctors told me it is not good. At the age of 53, I am entitled to earned leave and need to give more priority to my family. After 20 years of hard work, they (the family) should get priority over Mulayam-ji and the party," Amar Singh, who had a kidney transplant last summer and is one of the most visible and quoted politicians of the country, told NDTV.
"I am very grateful to him (Mulayam Yadav) for all the opportunities he has given to me. There are no differences. All my life, I will not speak a word against him," he said.
The decision actually came as a relief for many in the party and welcomed by those who had left it.
Be it Azam Khan or actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, all left the party largely on account of the enviable position that Mulayam Singh carved for Amar Singh.
Many Samajwadi veterans privately spoke of how glad they were that the SP was out of "Amar's clutches".
"Nothing would move in the party without Amar Singh. Sometimes it seemed that Mulayam would not even have a glass of water without seeking Amar Singh's nod," remarked a visibly happy senior functionary.
Former Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan, who remained the SP's most prominent Muslim face until his disgust with Amar Singh led him to march out of the party in 2009, said: "Amar Singh has done great service to the Samajwadi Party by stepping down from the general secretary's position."
Khan did not rule out the possibility of Amar Singh joining hands with former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalyan Singh, who floated his own outfit, Jan Kranti Party (JKP), here Tuesday.
Raj Babbar, now a Congress MP from Firozabad where he defeated Mulayam's daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav in a by-election in November, was least surprised at Amar Singh's much-touted resignation.
"With Mulayam's son Akhilesh taking over the reins of the Uttar Pradesh unit of SP, Amar Singh had been truly relegated to the background," Raj Babbar told IANS over the phone.