Early next year, Punjab is all set for elections. The elections has turned into a major political topic of discussion on the account of two issues: the Punjab farmers protesting against the NDA ruled Union government’s agricultural laws, and second being thee vertical split of Congress party (which is presently ruling the state) and its veteran leader and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh walking out of Congress and establishing a new outfit!
A veteran leader, Amarinder is not new for forging such factions and walking out of Congress. He has done it earlier on three occasions. Interestingly, despite the factions, starting new parties and merging the parties, he enjoys a very good rapport with the voters and this is what makes him a leader to reckon in Punjab.
In 1984, Captain Amarinder walked out of Congress and joined Shiromani Akalidal, later in 1992 he walked out of Akalidal to form a new party called Shiroman Akalidal (Pathak) only to merge it with Congress in 1997. Since then he has been with Congress and has been working for the party. His efforts were appreciated and he was made Chief Minister of Punjab twice – 2002-2007 and 2017-2021. It is well known fact Amarinder played crucial role in Congress getting power in Punjab in both the occasions.
After the recent spat with Navjot Singh Siddhu, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and also the party high-command giving him a cold shoulder, Captain quit the party and has once again established a new party that will take on all the big wigs of Punjab in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Punjab already has three major parties contending the elections – Shiromani Akalidal, Congress and Aam Admi Party (AAP). With the advent of Amarinder’s new outfit which is already showing lenience towards Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), things have heated up in the state of five rivers. While Congress has dismissed Amarinder’s new party, AAP has termed it as a benami for BJP while the BJP has welcomed the move. It is clear that BJP will form an alliance with Amarinder Singh’s new party and factions groups of Shiromani Akalidal.
Interestingly, already 12 sitting MLAs of Congress have said to have expressed their desire to join hands with Captain. Moreover Amarinder Singh, during his tenure as the Chief Minister, had been sympathetic towards BJP and even supported many decision taken by BJP-led NDA government in the centre. Despite all indications that Amarindeer’s new party will join hands with BJP, the controversial three farm laws are the point of contention for the alliance.
Will Amarinder be able to convince the Union government to differ on the farm laws and help BJP gain ground in Punjab? This is the big question that is hanging on the alliance, since Captain had been vocal about the farm laws and had been insisting on its withdrawal. Punjab politics have heated up and in the next few months many more things are likely to change the political equations.