Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday warned that the Congress will regret siding with Navjot Singh Sidhu in the duo’s tussle for power that saw him being replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi.
In an exclusive interview to News18, Singh, who has announced the launch of his own party, said it was Channi who “stabbed me in the back”, yet he considers his successor, Punjab first Dalit CM, to be a “capable man”.
Months before Assembly elections, the Patiala strongman claimed the Congress was “almost wiped out” in Punjab, adding that Rajasthan is next.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Amariner Singh said, “I thought Sonia Gandhi knew everything about me. But she doesn’t have much say now, her children run the show. Congress will regret choosing Navjot Singh Sidhu over me.”
Upping the ante against Sidhu, the Captain also called into question the cricketing days of the Punjab Congress chief, particularly the infamous incident of 1996 when opener Sidhu walked out of India’s tour of England over much-publicised differences with then skipper Mohammed Azharduddin.
“He fought with Mohammad Azharuddin and quit batting (sic)… I have known Sidhu since he was a boy. He went from being an introvert to an extrovert,” the former CM said.
He also recalled Sidhu’s days in the BJP, saying the cricketer-turned-politician had tried to take over the cabinet then too. “Arun Jaitley promoted Sidhu in the BJP, but he opposed them too. He wanted to take over the cabinet then too. He never did any work in his ministry. Files in his ministry used to stuck for seven months,” Singh said.
Amarinder Singh had announced earlier this week that his soon-to-be-launched party will form the next government in the state along with the BJP and a breakaway Akali faction.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, said on Saturday that the BJP is in talks with Amarinder Singh and former Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to forge an alliance ahead of the state assembly polls. During an interaction followed by his keynote address at a media summit, Shah also ruled out the possibility of farmers’ protests impacting elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Repeal of the farm laws was one the conditions set by Captain to join hands with the BJP.
“We are talking to Captain saab (Amarinder Singh) as well as (former Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh) Dhindsa saab. It is possible that we will have an alliance with both (their) parties. We are talking to both parties with a positive mind,” Shah said.