Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s patience is running thin. Miffed at the treatment meted by the top brass of Congress, Singh shot off an angry letter to party President Sonia Gandhi on Friday and clearly iterated that “forcibly interfering” with the working of the Punjab government could have serious implications. Singh is annoyed at the prospect of Navjot Singh Sidhu, his bitter arch-rival within the party, being granted the President post of the state unit.
“The party and the government may both have to bear the consequences of such a move,” the letter read. The media had gone into a tailspin after Congress party’s in-charge for Punjab Harish Rawat insinuated that Sidhu was all set to handle the top position in the Punjab Congress.
“I had come here to submit my report on Punjab to the Congress chief and as soon as a decision is taken by the Congress President, I will come and share it with you,” Rawat said. “Please read my statement very carefully and try and understand the words and their meaning,” he added further.
Meanwhile, in what can be termed as a subtle message to the Gandhi clan for its incessant desire to give Sidhu the key position, Amarinder Singh also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to immediately resume dialogue with the protesting farmers citing ‘provocative conduct of some political parties’ and the threat to law and order.
“The situation is presently under control but I fear that provocative statements and conduct of some political parties and the emotional backlash might create law and order problems and also lead to irreversible damage to the hard-earned peace in the State,” the Chief Minister said in his letter to the Prime Minister.
CM Amarinder Singh also cited intelligence reports suggesting that ISI-led Khalistani and Kashmiri terror outfits are planning terrorist actions in the state which is slated for assembly polls early next year. The fact that Captain Amarinder is invoking terrorism and national security angle at such a crucial time could be seen from the angle that the two time CM is trying to preserve power by deflecting attention from the squabbling within the party.
It is well known that Singh is not a Yes-Man who nods his head to any directive passed along by the party high command. Captain had left Congress after Operation Blue Star in 1984 and only when he came back to the party, Congress was able to rejuvenate itself in Punjab. It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to say that without him, Congress would have lost the 2017 elections and without him, the 2022 election would appear a lost battle too.
Thus, if Congress still doesn’t comprehend his signals, he might once again leave the party and go out on his own. While building a new party from scratch with limited time might be a Sisyphean task, the next big possibility could be Amarinder switching flanks and joining the BJP.
As reported by TFI, BJP is expected to encash in on the 38.5 per cent Hindu population votes as well as Dalit Sikhs who constitute 31 per cent of the total population. Other principal opposition parties in Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) owing to their divisive and anarchic politics might settle for the Khalistani vote bank that is currently protesting at the Delhi borders. Meanwhile, the inclusion of Amarinder would mean that Jat Sikh (21 per cent) would rally behind him and ultimately help BJP gain power.
Add to that, Captain has nearly always taken a pro-Nation stance unlike his party and its members. In the aftermath of the dastardly Pulwama attack, Captain had aggressively batted for the central government to retaliate and thus his inclusion might not be as divisive on the ideological lines.
Reported by TFI, such was the bitterness between the relations between Captain and Sidhu that the former warned Sidhu that if he dares to contest against the incumbent CM, the latter would lose security deposits.
“I don’t know where he will go or which party he will join. Akali Dal is upset with him and BJP won’t accept him… so most likely AAP. If he wants to contest against me from Patiala he will meet the same fate as General JJ Singh, who lost his security deposits,” CM Amarinder Singh said in an interview to a private channel.
In an attempt to retain a Gandhi-puppet and popular face like Sidhu, Congress might be riling CM Amarinder who has a far greater connection with the ground voters and can actually be the decisive difference. The state of Punjab goes into polls next year and Congress which has already seen its political map shrink by a considerable extent since PM Modi first came to power in 2014, cannot afford to let it happen but the Gandhi ego threatens to do just the same.
Ahead of next year’s assembly election in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written two back to back letters to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi – setting the speculation market abuzz regarding his future in the party.
The Gandhi clan is all set to appoint Sidhu as the state unit President and safe to say, Captain is not a big fan of the particular promotion. Thus his letter to PM Modi assumes greater importance, with some poll pundits predicting it as a foreshadowing event. The equations are aligning in place and if Congress continues to undermine Captain, he might very well ditch the grand old party and join the BJP camp, effectively bringing an end to Punjab Congress, as we know.