Punjab’s former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has declared that he will form a new political party and provided the farmers’ protest gets resolved, will consider a “seat arrangement” with the BJP and breakaway Akali groups ahead of next year’s Assembly elections in the state. Mr Singh had brushed off the possibility of joining forces with the BJP last month after his meeting with Union minister Amit Shah set off a huge buzz, saying they had just discussed the farmers’ protest.
In a series of tweets this evening, the former Chief Minister’s media advisor Raveen Thukral quoted him as saying, “Will soon announce the launch of my own political party to serve the interests of Punjab & its people, including our farmers who’ve been fighting for their survival for over a year”.
“Hopeful of a seat arrangement with @BJP4India in 2022 Punjab Assembly polls if #FarmersProtest is resolved in farmers’ interest. Also looking at alliance with like-minded parties such as breakaway Akali groups, particularly Dhindsa & Brahmpura factions,” read another tweet.
Mr Singh is yet to officially quit the Congress. While the party’s central leadership is yet to comment on the issue, Punjab’s cabinet minister Pargat Singh said, “I had already said that the Captain is allied with BJP and Akali Dal, he used to get his agenda from the BJP”.
The 79-year old — who had been with the Congress for more than four decades and has been its biggest mass leader in Punjab — stepped down from the top post in September, admitting to have suffered “humiliation” by the Congress in his long and bitter feud with Navjot Singh Sidhu and a section of the party MLAs.
At the time, he had made it clear that he still had enough political heft and would explore options.
“There is always an option, and I will use that option when the time comes,” he had said, adding that he would decide on his future course of action after discussions with “friends”. He had also indicated that his age was not a hurdle, saying “You can be old at 40 and young at 80”.
The veteran leader, who spent more than four decades in the Congress and was known to a Gandhi family loyalist, also issued a blistering criticism of the party chief.