Amar Singh, a key player in saving the India-US nuclear deal, passes away at the age of 64
- One of the highest points in Singh's career was cracking a deal with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2005.
- The India-US nuclear deal had just been signed and the dissenting Left Front decided to drop out of the alliance.
- The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have been dethroned had it not been for the support from the Samajwadi Party, thanks to a deal brokered by Singh.
AdvertisementMember of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Indian Parliament) and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, one of the key political figures in North India, passed away at the age of 64 after a prolonged illness for which he was being treated in a Singapore hospital.
One of the highest points in Singh's career was cracking a deal with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2008. The India-US nuclear deal had just been signed and the dissenting Left Front decided to drop out of the alliance. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have been dethroned had it not been for the support from the Samajwadi Party, thanks to a deal brokered by Singh.
In 2015, a book by the American author US writer Peter Schweizer accused that Hillary Clinton's foundation got a cash donation from Amar Singh — anywhere between $1 million and $5 million in 2008 — to seal the landmark India-US civilian nuclear deal. This charge was used by Donald Trump in his election campaign against Clinton in 2016.
Born in Aligarh on 27 January 1956, and brought up in North Kolkata, Singh was a crucial player in Uttar Pradesh politics for at least a couple of decades. From politics to show business, at his peak, Singh was ubiquitous in all influential circles.
His flaunted his friendships with the rich and powerful — including the likes of superstar Amitabh Bachchan, and the now beleagured billionaire Anil Ambani to name a few — and often put them to good use, politically.
The media has often dubbed him as the 'king maker' in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state and one that has produced the most of the country's Prime Ministers. That would make Amar Singh important in the national context too.
He was expelled from his home party by the chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in January 2010. He spent a brief period in judicial custody in 2011. He retired from politics only to return in 2016. But this stint was a short after a fallout with Mulayam's son Akhilesh Yadav.
These are some of the other controversies that Singh survived in his long political career:
July 2008: Cash-for-votes scam where he allegedly bribed three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha members to vote for the UPA government in the floor test in the parliament.
2011 phone tapping controversy: Taped phone conversations revealed Singh allegedly fixing deals with politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats and celebrities.
Advertisement2011 ‘fix-a-judge’ controversy: A compact disc allegedly showed Singh and Mulayam Singh Yadav in conversation with former law minister Shanti Bhushan. Singh and Yadav allegedly suggested that they could get the desired verdict by bribing a judge with ₹4 crore.
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