Congress faced defeat and disappointment in most of the recently concluded legislative assembly elections. The party tasted defeat after defeat in almost all elections since 2014 General assembly Elections, with only one exception, Punjab. But that story too may have panned out differently for the Congress because as it turns out, till as recently as 2015, Captain Amarinder Singh was thinking of quitting the party and joining rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to a NDTV report. Much to Congress’ relief, the Captain stayed back and steered the party towards victory in the state legislative elections, winning 77 of the 117 seats, according to an IANS report.
The NDTV report claims that Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was about to leave India’s grand old party for the BJP in September of 2015. According to an IANS report, this was due to tension between Amarinder and the Congress leadership, which arose after the party high command appointed Pratap Singh Bajwa, Congress’ Punjab chief in 2013, as quoted in Amarinder’s authorised biography.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) May 17, 2017
The tension between Amarinder and the party’s central command was at its peak after the 2014 Lok Sabha till late 2015. Amarinder, who defeated Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Amritsar in the Lok Sabha polls, wanted the post of the Punjab’s Congress chief. The party’s central leadership turned a deaf ear towards Singh and reportedly, Rahul Gandhi was dead against taking away the post of Congress state head away from Bajwa, according to the IANS report.
After several rounds of meetings with the party brass yielded no results. The situation, according to the biography, deteriorated further in one closed-door meeting at 10, Janpath, in late September 2015 when “the Congress Vice-president did not bestow the respect a senior leader like Amarinder Singh deserved”. Rahul Gandhi was reminded by his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi that he was talking to his father’s friend, after which he calmed down, according to NDTV .
During this period of uncertainty, Singh and his team flirted with the idea of him joining the BJP or even floating his own party as it was clear that the then ruling SAD-BJP combine under chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was clearly not likely to return to power this time.