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The Congress is trying to do in Punjab what the BJP did in Gujarat, but without the finesse and the carefully crafted strategem. The bitterness came to a head in the state after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister and hit out at the party saying he “feels humiliated” and would not accept the choice of the next Chief Minister.
This is starkly in contrast with the situation in the BJP which has changed five Chief Ministers this year but the outgoing CMs exhibited no bitterness in public and the outgoing leader was in fact by the side of the new incumbent when he took over. In Gujarat, where the BJP changed the Council of Ministers as well, there was hardly any indiscipline shown in public by the outgoing ministers. A veteran leader like BS Yedyurappa had also fell in line.
In Punjab, the turbulence however only seems to be starting with Captain Amarinder Singh in a rebellious mode. He made it clear that his future options regarding politics were open and he will avail the same at the correct time. His son, Raninder Singh said Captain will soon lead as “head of our family into a new beginning.” Sources have hinted that some senior Ministers and MLAs in Punjab are also on Captain’s side so far on his next move. Captain however said, “at the moment, I am still in Congress.”
Captain going to BJP?
While there is speculation that Captain Amarinder Singh may head to the BJP, sources say such a move would have to be seen in the context that his exit to another party could hurt the Congress prospects in the state. “The BJP and Captain Amarinder Singh have always been on the same page on one thing – nationalism and patriotism. There is some meeting of mind on that aspect,” an ex-Minister close to the former CM has told News18.
The BJP is in poor shape in Punjab after the Akali Dal snapped ties with it over the issue of the farm laws and farmers have been protesting against the BJP in the state. BJP desperately need a strong face in Punjab to change its narrative but Captain Amarinder Singh has also been a strong critic of the BJP on account of the farm laws and has demanded that the BJP should roll back the laws. Hence, any probable entry of Amarinder Singh in the BJP would depend also on the fate of the three farm laws.
A source ruled out Captain looking at the Akali Dal or the Aam Aadmi Party citing deep differences with both parties. The 79-year-old Captain cited his 52-year-long political career and nine-and-a-half-year long tenure as Chief Minister to make a case for his future innings.