Punjab saga: Captain Amarinder meets Amit Shah, sets stage for new political equations in state : The Tribune India

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Punjab saga: Captain Amarinder meets Amit Shah, sets stage for new political equations in state

Seeks repeal of farm laws | Guaranteed MSP | Diversification support

Punjab saga: Captain Amarinder meets Amit Shah, sets stage  for new political equations in state

File photo of Amit Shah and Capt Amarinder Singh. Captain-BJP axis is a possibility, say BJP sources.

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29

In a move signalling shifting power equations in poll-bound Punjab, Congress veteran and former state chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh met Home Minister Amit Shah for nearly an hour on Wednesday and discussed the ongoing farmers’ agitation, urging early resolution through repeal of farm laws.

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The meeting, which bears huge political implications for Punjab’s electoral arithmetic, comes in the wake of the ongoing Punjab Congress crisis and Captain’s resignation as Chief Minister.

This is the first meeting that Amarinder Singh had with Amit Shah after quitting as CM. The personal touch of today’s engagement — at Shah’s Krishna Menon residence — makes it significant and holds possibilities for the emergence of a future Captain-BJP axis in Punjab, a state where the saffron party doesn’t have a face after the SAD walked out of the NDA. Sources said any future alignment with Captain would need to stand on a solid ground with farmers’ issues emerging as an area of convergence.That explains why Capt raised farm agitation with Shah today, setting the stage for potential future resolution of a movement that has lasted over 10 months.

“Met Union Home Minister, discussed the prolonged farmers’ agitation and urged HM to resolve the crisis urgently with the repeal of farm laws, guaranteed MSP besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification. No farmers, no food (sic),” Capt tweeted after the meeting.

Asked if Captain could join the BJP, sources said it was too early for that and the current political logic was against a formal joining of hands, considering the farmers’ agitation. “There is no meeting ground right now,” said a source, adding that the alignment was a work in progress.

The BJP would want to use Captain’s credentials in Punjab to resolve the farmers’ agitation. “If (Captain’s) suggestions are found workable, the government might revisit the farm laws which it has categorically said cannot be repealed. It remains to be seen how these issues pan out and whether Capt Amarinder can lead that resolution of the farmers’ issues, in which case the BJP would gain both in Punjab and UP. This is in the realm of possibility. Once a meeting ground emerges, a Capt-BJP axis could become possible,” a source said.

For Captain, the developments are part of natural progression after the Congress, in his words, “humiliated him”. The former CM had said at the time of resigning that he was preparing for a battle and would do “whatever it takes to keep Navjot Singh Sidhu from becoming CM.”

Ex-cm exposed: SAD

Chandigarh: The SAD said the meeting only proved the two were always together. “Captain had been supporting the BJP’s game plan all these months. Now the cat is out of the bag,” spokesperson Dr Daljit S Cheema said.

Who’s the boss, ask Sibal, Azad; demand CWC meet

New Delhi: In the wake of several Congress leaders quitting the party and its Punjab unit getting into deeper crisis, Kapil Sibal demanded a meeting of the Congress Working Committee. “We are not ‘Jee Huzur-23’. We will continue to put forth our views and demands,” said Sibal, speaking formally on behalf of the G-23 leaders who had in 2020 written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for election to the post of party president, the CWC and the Central Election Committee. G-23 member Ghulam Nabi Azad also shot off a letter today to Sonia, demanding a CWC meeting and reminding her that the group was awaiting action on its past demands. Internal party polls were earlier postponed due to Covid. Sibal, meanwhile, said no one knew who was taking decisions.

“In our party at the moment there is no president. So we don’t know who is making these decisions. We know and yet we don’t know,” Sibal quipped. Reacting to the Punjab Congress implosion, he said the crisis in the border state was “advantage Pakistan and ISI.”

“We know the history of Punjab and the rise of extremism there. We know how forces across the border exploit the situation to create an atmosphere of uncertainty. The Congress should make sure it remains united. If someone has an issue, it should be discussed and conversation must emanate from the seniormost member of the party,” the former minister said, urging a free hand for the PCC.

Sibal quoted Mahatma Gandhi to say no monopolies should be created in the power structures of a country or party and conversations should happen. “Listen to our point of view. If you don’t accept it, fine, but at least listen,” Sibal said lamenting the defections of Sushmita Dev, Luizinho Faleiro, Jitin Prasada, Jyotiraditya Scindia among many others and asking the Congress top brass to introspect.

The party veteran also said those who took decisions on Punjab should be asked about what went wrong.

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