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Still quite young, will contest next election, says Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh played down his differences with party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying he has no issues with the Amritsar MLA and the ex-minister could discuss any matter with anyone in the party.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: March 16, 2020 8:12:20 pm
amarinder singh, punjab chief minister, amarinder singh navjot sidhu, navjot singh sidhu, amarinder statement on sidhu, punjab elections, punjab news Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh (R) and Navjot Singh Sidhu. (Express photo by Rana Simranjit Singh)

Putting an end to speculations about his candidature in the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Monday said he will definitely contest the next polls.

“I’m still quite young. I will certainly fight the next elections. Do you think I am too old to fight the polls,” the 78-year-old leader asked, in response to a question during the press conference to mark the third anniversary of his government.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Congress leader had said that those were his last elections. In 2018, he had said he would not hang up his boots until the state was taken out of the “mess”.

In 2019, the scion of the erstwhile royal family of Patiala had said that he would not quit politics until Punjab’s number one position was “restored” and he might fight the next assembly polls, if needed.

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Plays down differences with Sidhu

Amarinder played down his differences with party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying he has no issues with the Amritsar MLA and the ex-minister could discuss any matter with anyone in the party.

When asked about Sidhu’s status in the party, the chief minister said he was a Congressman and “we will certainly consider all his wishes” in taking any decision.

Amarinder said he had known Sidhu since the latter was a two-year-old child and had “no personal issues with him”.

To a question about Sidhu meeting the central party leadership on Punjab issues instead of raising these with the state leadership, the CM said, “He is welcome to discuss any issue with anyone in the party. If he has anything, which he would like to discuss, he is welcome”.

Last month, Sidhu had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi and apprised them of a roadmap for the “revival” of the Congress-ruled state “to its pristine glory”. It is being speculated that Sonia promised Sidhu an important role in 2022 Assembly election.

The 56-year-old Sidhu, who had remained out of the political scene for close to nine months, on Saturday launched a YouTube channel — Jittega Punjab — describing it as a platform to “propel” Punjab towards “revival and renaissance”.

Commenting on Sidhu’s YouTube channel, Amarinder said, “That is up to anybody. If I want to run a channel who can stop me.”

Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with the Punjab CM, was blamed for his “inept handling” of the Local Government Department for the “poor performance” of the Congress in the urban areas during the Lok Sabha polls last year. In June, Amarinder had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments.

Meanwhile, Amarinder refused to comment on the political developments in Madhya Pradesh, stressing that it was their internal issue and it was for the Congress national leadership to comment on the matter.

He also dismissed the power subsidy being given by the AAP government in Delhi as a drama and said there was no comparison between Punjab and the national capital as the latter had no farmers or police to take care of. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had reduced domestic tariff through cross subsidy, he said, pointing out that the Punjab government was already giving much higher subsidy than Delhi.

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