He seems to be a transformed Congress leader ever since he was sworn in as Punjab CM on March 16.
Has Amarinder Singh got ‘Modified’? Or, is he his usual self?
Much before the February Assembly elections in Punjab, Amarinder Singh had declared that he was contesting the last time. He had also sought a chance from the Congress high command to lead the party in the Assembly polls on the same ground.
The ‘Maharaja of Patiala’ was granted whatever he wished for and he went on to lead Congress to a decisive victory.
BADALS AND KEJRIWAL ON TARGET TILL PUNJAB POLLS
Till elections, Amarinder Singh’s statements and tweets were largely related to campaigning. He never named BJP in any tweet though he targeted the other two rivals – the Badals led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Amarinder Singh made personal comments on the Badals and Kejriwal. His attack on the Badals pertained mainly to law and order, corruption charges and drug menace.
However, the former Army Captain’s assault on the Delhi Chief Minister was frontal and highly damaging. His comments would, of course, be retorts to provocations by Kejriwal.
SOFT TOWARDS PM MODI AND BJP
But never in his campaign the ‘Maharaja’ ever target Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was in contrast to not just other Opposition parties but also other Congress leaders, including party vice president Rahul Gandhi.
These may lead one to believe that Captain Amarinder Singh may be soft towards BJP and PM Modi. There were reports too claiming that he was about to join BJP in September 2015.
However, the Punjab CM refuted this. In a tweet on May 17, he said he never thought of joining BJP due to differences with Congress. In a significant revelation, he said he only toyed with forming own party.
Disclosing plans of breaking away from parent Congress and forming a new party in itself is quite a bold statement to make. No other Congress leader can muster enough courage to make such a statement.
But Captain Amarinder Singh, saddled firmly in his position, has been speaking his mind, unmindful even of diverting from his Congress party’s stand or ideology. The steps or the stand he has been taking appear closer to rival BJP.
DOING AWAY WITH VIP CULTURE
The Modi government banned red beacons atop vehicles of ministers, politicians and government officials. The announcement was made on April 19. However, similar decision had already been taken by the Punjab government on March 18, just two days after the Amarinder government was sworn in.
In fact, the decision to rid Punjab of VIP culture was taken in the new state cabinet’s first meeting. All beacon lights were ordered to be removed from vehicles of ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats.
On April 21, the Punjab CM surrendered 400 security personnel and the government withdrew 1500 from other protectees. It plans to cut down more to free more security personnel for policing.
THE TURNING POINT
Captain Amarinder Singh has launched an offensive akin to any ‘nationalist’ BJP leader ever since Naib Subedar Paramjeet Singh was martyred and his body mutilated by Pakistani forces in Kashmir on May 1. He met the family of the martyr and announced jobs for the latter’s children.
On his own, he announced that a police job was waiting for martyr Paramjeet Singh’s daughter when she completes education and another job was reserved for the son. Later, he heartily accepted the request of the family for naib tehsildar’s job to the martyr’s daughter and ASI for the son.