As the farmers’ agitation against the three revolutionary farm laws passed by the country’s parliament shows no signs of abating, politically – Captain Amarinder Singh has begun worrying big time. With one year to go for the Assembly elections in Punjab, the incumbent Chief Minister would want to begin his campaign trail, which in any case has been delayed by the pandemic.
However, the continuance of the farmers’ protests threatens to vitiate the political atmosphere of Punjab, not to mention cost the Congress’ fortunes in the state a massive hit due to the Aam Aadmi Party increasing clout in Punjab.
Captain Amarinder Singh is also at loggerheads with the top leadership of the Congress, i.e., the Gandhis – who are going all out in their support for the agitating farmers and demanding a repeal of the three farm laws despite promising for years on end to bring in similar agricultural reforms themselves.
While the Congress leadership believes that their support for the farmers will yield national political brownie points, Captain Amarinder Singh is well aware that the party’s fortunes in the state are about to take a massive hit if a resolution is not reached upon soon.
As such, ThePrint has now reported that the farmers’ protests are no longer finding Captain Amarinder Singh wholeheartedly supporting them. In fact, the Punjab chief minister has deputed at least three senior government officials to the borders of Delhi, where the farmers are camping, to talk to them and make them accept the rather large list of concessions the Centre is willing to gift the agitating farmers with.
The report stated that the chief minister has deployed at least three top government functionaries — two senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and an agriculture expert — at the Singhu border near Delhi to identify and engage with the moderate voices among agitating farmers and their leaders. Further, Captain Amarinder Singh is also stepping up efforts to broker peace between the Centre and the farmers due to a fear of deteriorating law and order situation in the state which goes to polls next year.
“We are here at the border completely off the record. We are trying to talk to the farmers and their leaders both, to get a sense of what they really want and how much they are ready to let go in terms of their demands,” one of the IPS officers deployed at Singhu told ThePrint. “The sense we have gathered is that the (farmer) leaders are now being led more by the crowd than the other way around. And the crowd is not ready to accept anything other than a repeal of the three Acts,” the officer added.
In fact, only last month, after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Captain had said, “I have reiterated my government’s stand over the issue and I have requested him (Shah) and the farmers to resolve the matter soon because this affects the economy of my state and also the security of the nation.”
While Captain Amarinder Singh too had vociferously supported the farmers of Punjab initially, he has now realised that the agitation poses a serious challenge for him both politically, as well as in terms of law-and-order maintenance.
Amarinder Singh is also said to be frustrated with Rahul Gandhi and his coterie of friends in the state, who are mindlessly extending their wholehearted support to the misinformed farmers’ protest.
It would not be hyperbole to say that Rahul Gandhi wishes to once again remake his image as a national leader. However, this time around, he is doing so at the expense of Captain Amarinder Singh’s political fortunes. Already, Rahul is said to have accepted the demand of becoming the Congress President once again. As such, he would be looking to make the presidential entry with a bang. Needless to say, Captain is aware of all such ploys, and is working overtime to foil the Congress’ devious and selfish ploys.