Punjab elections: Amarinder Singh says Congress will sack anyone who joins him; opens up on alliance with BJP

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Updated: November 22, 2021 12:12 PM

Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that the reason why no significant Congress leader in Punjab joined him was that if anyone does so, he would be sacked from the Grand Old Party.

Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that the reason why no significant Congress leader in Punjab joined him was that if anyone does so, he would be sacked from the Grand Old Party.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh claimed that the reason why no significant Congress leader in Punjab joined his new political party was that if anyone does so, he would be sacked from the Grand Old Party.

In a interview with The Indian Express, Singh, when asked why no eminent Congress leader or MLA from Punjab joined him after he left the party, said: “I’m not isolated, I have got set-ups now in all the districts. We are starting a membership trial. Why is no one from the Congress joining me? It’s very simple — if somebody joins me, they sack them… The moment any MLA steps out of line, they cut his funds. Therefore, I told them all, ‘Keep sitting, let the Code of Conduct be enforced, then you join (once it is in place, the use of funds is restricted)’. So we are waiting for the Code of Conduct.”

Amarinder resigned as the Punjab chief minister in September amid a bitter power tussle with Sidhu. Charanjit Singh Channi had replaced Amarinder Singh. After his unceremonious exit from the state government, Amarinder had said that he would pit a strong candidate against Sidhu in the 2022 assembly polls to ensure his defeat.

Later, he announced his political party named Punjab Lok Congress and said that he was hopeful of a a seat arrangement with the BJP for the upcoming elections if the central government resolved the issue of farmers’ protest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise announcement to repeal the farm laws last week has now paved way for the alliance.

When asked about the BJP’s announcement of contesting all the 117 seats in the state, Singh said that will also fight on all seats with its allies – the BJP and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a former Akali Dal leader who has formed his own party.

“When the BJP said it (that it will contest all the seats), I had not left the Congress… I don’t think anyone can claim that we are going to win 117 seats… Neither can you expect a national party to say we will fight anything less than 117 seats. They say that, but they also know that if we have alliances — they are doing it with Dhindsa too — then give-and-take always takes place. I also said we are going to target 117 seats… What I meant was that we will fight with whoever is our electoral partner,” he said.

The former Punjab CM also ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal, alleging that it has always played “double” on issues in the state. “I don’t trust the (Shiromani) Akali Dal, which has always played ‘double’ on these issues… I was around during the build-up to terrorism, and they played with both sides… I think there is a place for all of us who feel Punjab should be secure, Punjabis should be secure,” he said.

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