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Plenty of Congressmen are coming in, says Amarinder Singh on new party

Captain Amarinder Singh speaks to media after submitting his resignation to Governor Purohit Banwarilal at Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh, Saturday, September 18, 2021. | Photo Credit: PTI
Special Correspondent Chandigarh 27 October 2021 12:02 IST
Updated: 27 October 2021 16:53 IST

Will launch party as soon as EC clears name, symbol: ex-Punjab CM

Claiming that several Congress members were in touch with him, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said he would launch his new party as soon as the Election Commission cleared the name and the symbol.

“Our lawyers are working on it and they are in touch with the Election Commission. As soon as the Election Commission clears the name and symbol, I’ll share it. Many people from the Congress party are in touch with me and they will come out in the open when the time comes. I promise you one thing: that we will contest all 117 Assembly seats. Whether we fight in alliance or whether we fight on our own, time will tell,” he told reporters.

“Plenty of Congressmen are coming in. We are waiting for the opportune moment. But I will not take their names. Already, my supporters are being harassed,” said Capt. Amarinder.

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Asked how many MLAs were in touch with him, he quipped: “If Rahul Gandhi needs to have back-to-back meetings with Punjab Congress MLAs, what does it mean?”

He rejected the Congress’s claims that a majority of the MLAs opposed his continuation in office and said, “Once they [party leadership] made up their mind to replace me, all these excuses are being made.”

Pointing out that the so-called 18-point agenda of the Congress for his government was nothing but part of the Punjab 2017 manifesto, he said the ‘Kharge committee’ was clearly told that 92% of all the poll promises had been fulfilled.

Taking on his detractors, particularly State party president Navjot Sidhu and State Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa, Capt. Amarinder accused them for indulging in petty issues.

Also read: Amarinder Singh resigns as Punjab Chief Minister amid turmoil in Congress

“We will fight and defeat Sidhu from wherever he contests the upcoming Assembly polls,” he said, adding that since the former had taken over the Punjab Congress reins, there had been a 25% drop in the party’s popularity, as per his survey.

Slamming the Punjab government over its repeated denial of any serious security concerns, Capt. Amarinder said there was something very wrong and dangerous happening at the borders, which the state could ill-afford to ignore.

He refuted allegations that the Border Security Force (BSF) would take over the State’s administration or will be deployed in Golden Temple etc, and said such misconceptions were being spread by certain people to score brownie points in the run-up to the Assembly elections. “The BSF is here for helping maintain national security as we are a border state,” he said, calling for full support by the state to the Centre in the interest of national security.

He added that he will soon lead a non-political delegation of agricultural experts to meet the Union Home Minister to discuss possible solutions to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Trashing allegations against his Pakistani friend Aroosa Alam, Capt. Amarinder termed as baseless the charges of money being sent out by her.

Asking if Ms. Aroosa was the only issue left in Punjab, he questioned the intention of Mr. Randhawa in raising the issue now after never raking it up all these years. Ms. Aroosa had been visiting him for 16 years and he would definitely invite her again, Capt. Amarinder added.

Editorial: The fading patriarch: On Congress and Amarinder Singh

Pointing out that he had never spoken of aligning with the BJP, Capt. Amarinder said what he wanted to do was seat sharing. “In military parlance, it means concentration of forces,” he said, adding that he had, however, not talked to the BJP on this.

Dismissing as trash Mr. Sidhu’s tweet accusing him of being loyal to the BJP, he said the thought of seat sharing with the BJP came to his mind only after he was forced out of office. “States have to work with the Centre to function effectively,” he pointed out.

Analysis | Punjab Assembly election 2022 set to see new dynamics

He said he had no intention of aligning with the Shiromani Akali Dal but only with breakaway Akali groups. Asked about the reported refusal of Dhindsa to tie up with him, Capt. Amarinder said, “If Dhindsa has to put up a real fight, he will have to concentrate his forces too.”

“To defeat the Congress, the SAD and AAP, we will all have to work as a joint force,” he added.

Trashing allegations of not delivering during the four years of his rule, Capt. Amarinder listed out the work completed by his government and said the Charanjit Channi Government was merely implementing what he had decided to do.

Countering propaganda that nothing had happened in the ‘Bargari’ and other sacrilege cases, the former Chief Minister said probe was done. As many as 19 police officers and 21 civilians were booked, he said, pointing out that the process took time.

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