The dissent and intrigue that has been brewing in Congress’ Punjab state unit has finally forced CM Amarinder Singh to resign, just months ahead of assembly elections.
Captain Amarinder Singh slammed the Congress’ central leadership stating that he was “humiliated into quitting” and that he had not been even informed about the CLP (Congress Legislature Party) meeting even though he was the leader.
Singh said even after the leadership change in Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, he had not expected to be humiliated in this manner “perhaps because of my association with Sonia Gandhi and her children.”
Amarinder Singh has been at loggerheads with cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for a long while now. Sidhu was earlier in Singh’s cabinet but resigned after his portfolio was changed in 2019. In July, Congress President Sonia Gandhi appointed Sidhu as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
While speaking at a recent party function in Amritsar, Sidhu had said that if allowed to work freely, he would ensure Congress rule in the state for 20 years, else he threatened “eent se eent baja denge” (totally destroy the party). Looks like the Congress high command took his threat seriously and showed the door to Amarinder.
As is their wont, mainstream media is full of speculation about the possible reasons for the leadership change, including perception that Singh failed in prosecuting sacrilege cases, in tackling the ISI-sponsored drug racket and that he was soft on the Badals. There is also talk of surveys conducted by Congress prompting this change.
There are even rumors that this is a strategy to combat anti-incumbency and the AAP challenge – Amarinder would float a different outfit for the elections but later merge back with Congress, as per this theory! AAP’s open dabbling with pro-Khalistani elements and their role in carrying out the anti-Hindu Delhi riots do make their gaining power in a border state like Punjab an extremely dangerous proposition for national security.
For that matter, Congress too has stoked the fires of anarchy during the ongoing ‘farmers protest’ launched by status-quoist sections of the Jat Sikh community. It has ignored the dangerous Khalistani mobilization in the guise of these protests. Though it must be acknowledged that Amarinder did lambast the Canadian government for their support of the Khalistani movement, and refused to meet Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, a known Khalistani sympathiser.
There is also chatter of 79-year-old Amarinder joining the BJP and becoming their CM face for the upcoming election, which seems extremely far-fetched.
The outgoing Amarinder Singh warned Congress against appointing Navjot Singh Sidhu as CM of the border state.
“Navjot Singh Sidhu is an incompetent man, he is going to be a disaster…For the sake of my country, I’ll oppose his name for CM of Punjab. It’s a matter of national security. Pakistan PM Imran Khan is his friend. Sidhu has a relation with army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa,” Amarinder said in an interview to news agency ANI hours after stepping down.
“If the Congress decides to pitch him as the chief minister of Punjab, I will oppose it. Pakistan has been responsible for sending arms, drones, explosives to our state. We have a common border and when you know the bigwigs at top, it becomes a matter of national security, so I will oppose it and I will not allow him,” Amarinder said
However, it’s not like Capt. Amarinder Singh’s record on national interest is spotless. He took a bizarre anti-CAA stand saying that the law was ‘anti-Jewish’ as it did not include Jews on CAA. His cynical appeal to Punjab farmers to spare their home state from the economic damage caused by lawless protests but do whatever they wanted in Delhi & Haryana, will not be forgotten soon. Moreover, he has done nothing to crack down on the criminal missionary mafia which is operating with impunity across Punjab, luring poor Punjabis to abandon their ancestral faith.
There is also the matter of Amarinder Singh’s live-in partner, the Pakistani defence journalist Aroosa Alam. She is the daughter of Akleen Akhtar, a ‘close friend’ of Pakistani dictator Gen. Yahya Khan and a socialite who allegedly ran a brothel for military officers and other powerful people in Pakistan in 1970s, earning the sobriquet ‘Rani General’. It is said that Aroosa Alam inherited her mother’s network and chose reporting on the military where she had an inside view.
So until yesterday, we had a CM of a sensitive border state – one which is grappling with multiple problems like Khalistani terror and drug network, all sponsored by an enemy nation i.e. Pakistan – in a romantic affair with a woman who clearly has deep links to the Pakistan military establishment. The ultimate honey trap and an intelligence nightmare? But then nothing should surprise us anymore in the ‘secular, socialist’ cesspit of Indian democracy.
It is also important to note that while the Amarinder-Aroosa relation was known to all, journalists always avoided mentioning it around the CM. But as soon as Amarinder fell out with the Congress top brass and raised serious questions about Sidhu’s bonhomie with the Pakistani PM & Army Chief, durbari media loyalists like Rajdeep Sardesai raked up the Aroosa angle while interviewing Amarinder. Clearly, once you lose the protection of the Congress’ first family, you are open to all sorts of attack from the Lutyens’ mafia!
There are no good choices in Punjab at the moment. But Amarinder is spot on that Sidhu will be the worst of the lot, given his emotional outbursts, unpredictable behavior, hob-nobbing with Khalistanis, dismissal of the Balakot air strikes as a ‘gimmick’, and clear pro-Pakistan leanings.
The latest news is that Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from the Sidhu camp is the front-runner to replace Amarinder. One can only hope that the least-damaging candidate holds the reins of power in this key state.