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A Captain on a lost track

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on November 24, 2021 with No Comments

Soon after former and Uncerimoniously ousted Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced he would hold a press conference in Chandigarh, speculation was rife in the power corridors of the state that he would officially launch a new party. There were rumours about leaders of the Congress party possibly joining him. Jittered by these rumours, the party began reaching out to miffed leaders who owe their alliance to Capt. Amarinder Singh in an attempt to prevent Capt. from poaching them. Having held meeting with Navjot Singh Sidhu and his trusted over six months, now was the time for Congress High Command to get in touch with Amarinder loyalist; and it managed to salvage some situation atleast for the time being.

Capt. Amarinder Singh reached the press conference accompanied by only his media adviser and failed to live up to its hype. Capt. declared his forming the party and clearly stated the possibility of an alliance with the BJP and splinter groups of the Akali Dal.  By failing to formally launch his party Capt. provided a hint that he is still not ready and is unable to mobilise the support he expected. Also, his supporters know that  BJP is a marginal player in Punjab, and the ongoing controversy over three farm laws has further alienated it from the farming community. Hence, Capt. appears to have isolated himself from his loyalists. BJP has also questioned the patriotism of the protestors and Punjabi can’t accept being labeled unpatriotic. BJP is now trying for an outreach to the farmers through a partnership with Capt.. Whether this can really result in a shifting some votes to BJP needs to be seen. Nevertheless, the Congress high command can’t clear itself of the situation in the state. It decided to unsettle its own government only to prove the disgruntled group led by Navjot Singh Sidhu right. Their allegations that Capt. Amarinder Singh was hand in gloves with Akali Dal and BJP. But the decision to replace has come to late with the state going to the elections in four months. Congress is trying hard to create an impression of working for social justice, and may create an impression good enough to stage a comeback. Both Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party. Capt’s statement that he would be open to an alliance with the BJP  has backfired. As Anything associated with the BJP in Punjab right now is seen with major suspicion due to the farmers’ protest. The Akali Dal, having parted with its long-term ally, the BJP, is now hoping to gain from the confusion arising out of the crisis in the Congress. However, the way he was questioned by a group of farmers for over an hour during an election rally, conveys that I may not be easy for Akali Dal to crack a deal to get suitable number in Punjab.

Capt. Amarinder Singh has a sizeable baggage of his four and half year term as chief minister, and his recent comments of aligning with BJP and justifying the increase of area under the Border Security Force would only add to the baggage.  At 79, he has already faced major humiliation at the fag end of his 51 years in political life after the Gandhi siblings – Rahul and Priyanka – managed to unseat him despite his being in control of the party in Punjab for the past two decades; Capt has lost the track in Punjab.


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