Capt Amarinder Singh: The Man Who Put Congress Back on the Saddle in Punjab


One of the strongest regional satraps of the Congress, Amarinder Singh was the chief who put the get together again within the saddle in Punjab after an intensely fought ballot battle that decimated the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and crushed the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) dream of increasing its footprint past Delhi. The 79-year-old extensively revered and well-liked chief steered the Congress in 2017 to a landslide victory within the 117-member meeting to occupy the chief minister’s publish for the second time.

The ‘maharaja’s’ win in Punjab after 10 years had additionally rekindled the hopes for the revival of the grand previous get together. But now all appears not effectively within the get together’s state unit as over 50 MLAs have written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi searching for that Singh get replaced as chief minister, a improvement that comes nearly 4 months forward of meeting elections within the state.

Singh has now determined to stop from the publish of chief minister. Belonging to a really uncommon breed of politicians who’ve seen motion within the Indo-Pak battle, Singh tasted success within the 2017 polls after Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal foiled his earlier makes an attempt to turn into chief minister in 2007 and 2012.

Navjot Singh Sidhu joined the Congress a couple of months forward of the polls after quitting the BJP. Speculation was rife that he can be given the publish of deputy chief minister, however he was made a Cabinet Minister. Relations between him and the chief minister have been by no means heat. Just two years after the Congress got here to energy, Sidhu was stripped off key portfolios within the cupboard reshuffle in June 2019 and he then resigned from the state cupboard.

Singh had divested Sidhu of the native authorities and tourism and cultural affairs departments and allotted him the ability and new and renewable vitality portfolio although the latter by no means assumed cost of his new division. Shortly afterwards, Sidhu had approached the then Congress president Rahul Gandhi and “apprised him of the state of affairs”.

The tension between Singh and Sidhu came out in the open. While Singh blamed him for the “inept handling” of the native authorities division, claiming that it resulted in “poor efficiency” of the Congress in urban areas in the (2019) Lok Sabha polls, the former cricketer, on the other hand said “(Congress chief) Rahul Gandhi is my captain…Rahul Gandhi is the captain of the captain (Singh) also.” However, issues grew to become worse and at last, Sidhu was appointed state Congress president, however robust opposition from Singh . Once a frontrunner of the Akali Dal, Singh, the ‘scion of Patiala’, in his quick Army profession, fought within the 1965 battle.

Son of late Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala, Singh did his preliminary education at Lawrence School, Sanawar and Doon School in Dehradun, earlier than becoming a member of the National Defence Academy, Kharagwasla in 1959 and graduating from there in 1963. Commissioned within the Indian Army in 1963, he was posted in 2nd Bn. Sikh Regiment (each his father and grandfather had served the battalion), served in Field Area – Indo Tibetan border for 2 years and was appointed Aide-de-Camp to Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, GOC-in-C Western Command.

The political profession of Singh, who was thought-about a detailed good friend of late Rajiv Gandhi, started in January 1980 when he was elected an MP. But he resigned from the Congress and the Lok Sabha in protest in opposition to the entry of the military into the Golden Temple throughout Operation Blue Star in 1984.

After becoming a member of the Akali Dal in August 1985, Singh bought elected to the Punjab meeting on an Akali Dal (Longowal) ticket within the 1995 elections. During his first time period as chief minister (2002-07), his authorities in 2004 handed the state legislation terminating Punjab’s water sharing pact with neighbouring states.

Last yr, his authorities introduced 4 payments, which have been later handed by the state meeting, to “counter the contentious farm laws enacted by Parliament”. In his second term, his government also announced a waiver of crores of rupees worth of loans under the farm debt waiver scheme for labourers and the landless farming community.

Singh fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar and defeated BJP’s Arun Jaitley by a margin of more than one lakh votes. He then resigned in November as MP after the Supreme Court termed Punjab’s 2004 Act terminating the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal agreement as unconstitutional.

A few days later, he was appointed president of the Punjab Congress again in the run-up to the polls. A widely travelled person, Singh has penned several books including his memoirs of the 1965 Indo-Pak war. .

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