At the fag end of his political carrier, former Panjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is all set to get landed in the BJP. Captain Singh has never been a spectator. As a result, the Congress veteran is soon going to be a BJP man. Given Captain Amarinder’s presence and popularity, political analysts claim that this appears to be a brilliant move by the BJP for the upcoming assembly election in Himachal Pradesh.
The military veteran has always been in the news during his political career, and his decision to join the BJP has thrust him back into the spotlight. This is not the first time that the 79-year-old politician has decided to switch the party.
Amarinder Singh, born in 1942, was a soldier, a military historian, a cook, an obsessive gardener, and a standout literary mind who could have headed the Congress party with great vision and wisdom but he tragically could not survive.
In 1963, Captain Amarinder Singh, a Graduate of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the National Defense Academy (NDA), served in the Sikh regiment. Although he was only in the army for three years, he made a significant contribution to it in the Indo-Pak War of 1965.
Singh joined the talks to help Punjab before Operation Blue Star occurred as a Congress MP in 1980. Despite being a close personal friend of the Gandhis, he left the party and the House of Representatives in 1984.
This action gave him the boost he needed to control Punjab Congress operations for more than 20 years. Singh’s stature remained the tallest in the unit regardless of the state party president.
He joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) after his resignation in 1984 and was made a Minister in Surjit Singh Barnala’s government in September 1985.
When the police raided Darbar Sahib on Barnala’s orders, he resigned from the Ministry seven months later in protest. The Sikhs admired him because of this.
Singh returned to the Congress in 1998 after the Akalis denied him a ticket for the elections in 1997. He was appointed the party’s state chief by Sonia Gandhi, and he guided it to a stellar showing in the 1999 Lok Sabha election.
The Parkash Singh Badal government was struggling due to public discontent, but Captain Amarinder had the difficult task of bridging the breach between Congress and the Sikhs. He guided the Congress to victory in 2002 and imprisoned Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal on corruption allegations. They were ultimately cleared of all charges.
Singh’s career reached a pinnacle in 2004 with the passage of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act. It rendered invalid all agreements on the sharing of river waters with other states and the Centre with nationwide repercussions.
Despite SAD’s claims that it was the organisation that championed the cause, Captain was viewed by the party as the ‘savior of Punjab waterways.’ During a previous term, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal openly rebelled, but he managed to survive.
Despite having let the Punjab assembly elections he was in charge of in 2007 and 2012 slide, the politician’s charisma remained intact. He ran for Parliament from Amritsar in 2014 at Sonia Gandhi’s urging and defeated BJP heavyweight Arun Jaitley, increasing Singh’s appeal on a national scale.
It assisted him in winning the state with a huge majority of 77 seats, as well as removing Partap Singh Bajwa as president of the Punjab Congress.
Even after making some less-than-kind words about Rahul Gandhi in an interview with a leading English daily in September 2015, Captain Amarinder was able to use his charisma to persuade the party’s high command to choose him as Punjab Congress president.
For six years, he held complete control over the party and the government as the undeniable head of the Punjab Congress.
However, in 2021 Captain again broke all the ties with the Congress and announced the formation of a new party – Punjab Lok congress. However, the party failed to impress the people of Punjab in the recent elections.
One would have thought that Singh’s 52 years of a political career is over. But here Captain Amarinder Singh in the BJP is to start again!