Amarinder Singh was the mightiest Congress leader in the states for the last few years. He won Punjab on his own and spoke his mind most of the time, sometimes even against the central high command. On various issues like National security (external and internal), welfare measures, and foreign policy, he supported a line that was more aligned with Congress than BJP. But, no more!
With the farmers’ protest going out of hand, Amarinder Singh has now been reduced to a weaker version of his former self. He came to power promising law and order, which had spiralled out of hand due to inefficient administration of Badals, in the state. However, the recent vandalism of Jio towers in Punjab shows that the state is no longer in the control of the Chief Minister.
Amarinder Singh had repeatedly appealed to farmers to not vandalise state or corporate property, but none of them listened to him. The state police have not registered a single FIR against the goons because Singh does not want to irk the Sikh voter base.
After the farmers’ protests, a majority of Jat Sikhs stated that Amarinder Singh was very reluctant to extend support to them. Jat Sikhs primarily vote for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and some of them have even supported AAP in the last few years. Amarinder Singh, who himself is a Jat Sikh, came to power with the support of Hindus and the Scheduled Caste Sikhs. The primary concern for the SC Sikhs and Hindus of the state are the law and order and economic development.
Addressing this constituency, Singh has run the state with an iron fist in the last four years and has been able to curb many illegal activities including a drug problem. Moreover, he tried to woo the corporates who have completely abandoned the state in the last few decades- due to an unsupportive state government and law and order issue.
But all that went down with the vandalism of the farmers in the last few days. Amarinder Singh convinced them to protest in Delhi or at the Haryana border to avoid any problem in the state. However, the farmers’ protest took an anti-corporate turn when the farmers went on to vandalise the property of Reliance Jio.
The farmers’ protests and the vandalism by miscreants are costing the state dearly as the industrial houses based in Ludhiana and Jalandhar- two important industrial hubs of North India- are suffering heavily. All efforts of Amarinder Singh to maintain law and order in the state thus, seem to be going down the drain.
As per the data released by Punjab’s state department, the total loss of the industry as of November 20 was 30,000 crore rupees, and by now, it probably has crossed one lakh crore rupees. The blockade of inputs and outputs has become a major problem for the industries based in Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh amid the farmers’ protests.
The failure of the Congress-led Amarinder Singh government to deliver to its primary constituency would force it to move to other parties in the 2022 assembly election. The Jat Sikhs are not going to vote for the party and Hindus, as well as, Scheduled Caste Sikhs will also abandon Amarinder Singh due to his failure to handle the law and order in the state.
Amarinder Singh is clearly caught in the middle as the Congress’ high command is supporting the ongoing farmers’ protest while at the same time, it is costing the Punjab Congress heavily. In short, Rahul Gandhi has already written an obituary of the Punjab Congress. Singh being one of the most decisive leaders of the Congress party is now indecisive and unable to react, all thanks to Rahul Gandhi’s failed leadership.