Updated: September 23, 2021 12:50:54 pm
The Congress is keeping a close eye on the activities of former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh who has opened a front against state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu but has not “admonished” the BJP over the contentious farm laws in a series of interviews he gave to the electronic media after tendering resignation on September 18.
The buzz that he might be up to something gained credence after his Delhi-based OSD Narender Bhambri shared, on his twitter handle, a poster of Amarinder titled “Captain 2022”. “Reverting back in a big bang,” Bhambri tweeted. A few hours later, Amarinder issued a statement saying he would field a candidate against Sidhu in the 2022 Assembly elections even as he expressed “shock” at the way the Punjab unit of Congress was being “run from Delhi”.
Sources in Congress said the party was already watching Amarinder keenly on whether he was headed to BJP. “There are reports that he may be making a big announcement about his political future on October 2. Considering that he has the support of various farm unions in Punjab, it is being seen if he could be instrumental in getting the confrontation between farmers and the Centre over agri laws resolved. Since, in the interviews given to various channels, he did not admonish the BJP at all, we are just curious to know where is he headed,” a source privy to the development in the Congress said.
Though BJP is not the party of choice for many Punjab leaders, especially over the saffron party’s stand on the agri laws, the Congress camp is watching if Amarinder could find a way. “We are also watching if some Congress MLAs may side with him especially after the Cabinet expansion which is expected anytime now,” the source said.
A Congress leader said, “The poster titled Captain 2022, appeared to be making an announcement that he will be contesting the next year’s elections in 2022 as “Captain” even though he is no more the “Captain” of the Congress. It clearly shows he has some plans.”
The Congress is now trying to balance the equations while deciding the Cabinet so as not to annoy the MLAs. “We would not annoy anyone unless they are a liability,” the source added.
In the backdrop of this narrative, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi Wednesday called on Brahm Mohindra, who was a minister in Amarinder-led Cabinet. Mohindra is said to be upset as his elevation to Deputy Chief Minister was stalled by Sidhu.
The party leaders are eagerly awaiting for Cabinet expansion. “We are going slow…we just do not want to annoy anyone,” a leader said.
He added that Amarinder’s statement that he would field a strong candidate against Sidhu was “a reflection” of times to come. “Amarinder cannot field a candidate against Sidhu while being in Congress. Let us wait and see,” he said.
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