The Congress party, led by the Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, is working overtime to make life miserable for Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who incidentally happens to be a Congressman himself. The single point of contention between the Gandhis and Captain this time around is the misinformed farmers’ protests, which are being held on the borders of Delhi, asphyxiating the National Capital Region.
Captain Amarinder Singh, despite being supported by the farmers initially, is now increasingly looking to have the protestors accept the rather large-hearted concessions the Centre is willing to provide them with. Congress’ dynastic leadership, however, feels otherwise.
After 2017, this is perhaps for the very first time that Captain Amarinder Singh and Rahul Gandhi are beginning to lock horns directly. Back in 2017, when Punjab was facing the state assembly polls, the Gandhi prince was said to have deployed all tactics to ensure that Captain is not made the chief ministerial face of the Congress’ campaign. Of course, that battle was won by Amarinder Singh, but now, the problems are just too many for the Chief Minister to handle. Already, the Akali Dal is working to win over its disenchanted voters, even as the Aam Aadmi Party gives in its best to make further inroads into Punjab. Amidst inter-party hawks eyeing Captain’s post, Rahul Gandhi is not the kind of ill-timed foe Amarinder Singh would want to have a face-off within the prevailing atmosphere.
Yet, Rahul Gandhi has his own reasons to make life tough for the Punjab Chief Minister. As reported by TFI recently, the Gandhi prince is said to have accepted the demands of party leaders to become the Congress National President once again. As such, he is not willing to let go of an opportunity offered to Congress to vilify the Modi government. The farmers’ protests, Congress believes, is for the first-time causing anxiety within the BJP and the Centre. Captain Amarinder Singh, meanwhile, fearing a backlash against him, is looking to quell the agitation as soon as possible.
Gandhi loyalists are being seen taking a very tough stance against the Centre on the issue of the three revolutionary farm laws passed by the parliament in September last year. To the same effect, Randeep Surjewala on Saturday asked Prime Minister Modi to ‘resign’ if he was not able to repeal the three laws. This, in line with Rahul Gandhi’s all-out support to the agitating farmers. Surjewala also attempted to mount an attack on the government over its proposition to the protesting farmers to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision on the farm laws.
Rahul Gandhi on Friday had tweeted in Hindi, “Peaceful protest is a part of democracy, our farmer brothers and sisters who are protesting are getting support from the nation, you also raise your voice and join your voice with them so that the farm laws are scrapped.”
This suggested how, in the contestation of Captain Amarinder Singh’s newly-adopted line over the protests, Rahul Gandhi was going all-out against the Modi government. Then, the to-be Congress president also tweeted a cryptic two-liner, saying that those whose motives were not clean were trying to delay a resolution to the farmers’ demands by inviting them for talks repeatedly, without any constructive action being taken to satisfy the agitators.
शांतिपूर्ण आंदोलन लोकतंत्र का एक अभिन्न हिस्सा होता है। हमारे किसान बहन-भाई जो आंदोलन कर रहे हैं, उसे देश भर से समर्थन मिल रहा है।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 8, 2021
नीयत साफ़ नहीं है जिनकी,
तारीख़ पे तारीख़ देना स्ट्रैटेजी है उनकी!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 8, 2021
Already, Captain Amarinder Singh is disappointed with Rahul Gandhi’s friend – Ravneet Singh Bittu for passing unwanted and borderline inciteful statements concerning the farmers’ protests. Bittu had recently said, “They (The government) think that we will get tired after some time and give up on our sit-in protest. But no! We will pile up corpses. We will shed blood and can go to any extent to achieve our objectives.”
Captain Amarinder Singh, meanwhile, is defending rightful arrests made from within the Punjabi music industry – of individuals who had taken it upon themselves to fan hatred in the state’s society. Shree Brar, a Punjabi singer has been arrested for allegedly promoting gun culture in the state. Commenting on the arrest, Captain said the singer’s arrest was “correct and justified”.Promoting gangsterism and gun culture in this manner was absolutely wrong, the Chief Minister added.
Additionally, Amarinder Singh also revealed that he had asked the police to provide him with regular intelligence inputs regarding the ongoing farmers’ protests. It must be mentioned here that the Chief Minister is wary of a law-and-order situation in the state if the protests do not culminate soon and a resolution is not reached upon between the Centre and the farmers’ unions.
While Captain is looking to have the farmers accept the proposals laid out by the Centre and resolve the issue, Rahul Gandhi is eyeing to stoke further chaos in the country only to suit his political narrative and to seemingly corner the Modi government. Captain Amarinder Singh has historically never shied away from taking on the Gandhis. Now, once again, the Punjab Chief Minister is faced with a political opportunist in Rahul Gandhi, who is willing to script his own rise as a leader at Captain’s expense. It would definitely be worthwhile watching who wins this one.