Captain Amarinder Singh forced to resign from Punjab CM post
Captain Amrinder Singh
By Satinder Bains*
Chandigarh: It was an unceremonial end of the sparkling political career of Captain Amarinder Singh now former Chief Minister of Punjab. Cornered and humiliated, he was forced to resign from his post at the fag end of his five year tenure as Chief Minister of border state of Punjab.
He might not have faced such an embarrassment in his 52 years old political career though he has seen many ups and downs. A stalwart in state politics, Captain Singh seemed visibly hurt when in first interaction with media after resignation he underlined his family relations with Gandhi family and a close friendship with former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, All India Congress Committee (AICC) president.
What shocked the former Chief Minister, was the sudden call by AICC to Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to come for an emergency meeting of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) without even informing the CM. ” I feel humiliated by the Congress party”, he told the media immediately after resignation. He was quoted as saying that he was twice called by high command to Delhi which was not in good taste.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Sidhu is understood to have played a major role in the ouster of Capt Singh. It was on his inputs that party high command decided to sideline the Captain. Sidhu had reportedly told the party high command about Amarinder’s proximity with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and he played the BJP card in Punjab to help the saffron party and their allies Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Though the BJP and SAD have separated from each other but they are still hand in glove to grab the power. The statements issued by Captain Amarinder Singh on terrorism threat in Punjab were in line with the BJP strategy.
Captain Singh has sounded an alert in Punjab citing smuggling of arms and drugs from Pakistan side. The recent incident of police lathi charge on farmers in Moga is also cited as an example that Captain Singh was trying to create an atmosphere of uncertainty in Punjab to help the SAD and the BPJ.
Sidhu had also informed the party high command about the mining mafia, drug mafia and transport mafia flourishing under Capt Singh and he also patronising the SAD’s supremo Parkash Singh Badal’s family. He was also accused of handing over the administration to retired bureaucrat Suresh Kumar who was close to the Badal family. The Captain also appointed Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta and his wife Vini Mahajan as Chief Secretary to oblige the BJP. Most of the Congress ministers had complained that the government was being run by Suresh Kumar and Vini Mahajan bypassing the ministers. Suresh Kumar was Principal secretary of former CM Parkash Singh Badal.
The count down of Capt Amarinder Singh had begun with the appointment of Navjot Sidhu as PPCC president and a 18 point charter given to Capt Singh to implement in two months. The Captain had failed to implement the charter and rather allowed protests by government employees all over the state so that SAD and the BJP could cash on anti-incumbency.
The relations of Capt Amarinder Singh with a Pakistan woman was also one of the issues Sidhu understood to have raised with the party high command. Arusa Alam had stayed with Capt Amarinder Singh for over three years on a long visa granted by the BJP government at center on the recommendations of SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
What next for Captain Amarinder Singh? He has only one choice to join BJP and this is what he is going to do in the run for 2022 assembly elections.
*The writer is a senior journalist.