New Delhi: Close on the heels of his resignation as Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday lashed out at Navjot Singh Sidhu's style and brand of politics which has a clear tilt towards friendship for Pakistani army generals and Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“We have all seen Sidhu hugging Imran Khan and General Bajwa, and singing praises for the Pakistan Prime Minister at the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor while our soldiers were being killed at the borders every day,” said Amarinder, who also fought the1965 war.
Cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu had attended Imran’s swearing-in in 2018 even after he (Capt Amarinder) had advised him not to do so.
Sidhu readily accepted an embrace from the Pak army chief Gen Javed Bajwa.
Speaking at the Kartarpur Corridor function on a later day, Sidhu heaped praise on Imran Khan and even addressed him as his ‘Yaar dildaar’.
“The government of Punjab means the security of India, and if Sidhu is made the face of the Congress for chief ministership, I will fight him at every step,” the outgoing Chief Minister told reporters.
Immediately after putting in his papers, Captain told journalists outside Raj Bhawan that he felt "humiliated" and hence decided to quit as the Chief Minister.
Dwelling at Sidhu's style of functioning, the outgoing Chief Minister said: "How can a man who could not handle a ministry handle the state?”
As Local Government minister, Sidhu failed to clear files for seven months, he claimed.
Amarinder, who came into politics in 1980 more as a 'friend' of the then Congress general secretary Rajiv Gandhi, ruled out leaving politics and said as an Army man, he has a lot of will. “I am not hanging my boots,” he asserted.
Captain Amarinder is credited for not only bringing back Congress to power in 2017 in Punjab, he gave hope among hundreds of Congressmen and women that the grand old party could be revived.
Singh – son of Late Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala, after commissioning in the army was posted in 2nd Battalion Sikh Regiment and was part of the 1965 war against Pakistan.
He also flirted with the Akali Dal in 1985 and got elected to the Punjab assembly on an Akali Dal (Longowal) ticket.
There was a time when he was the only Chief Minister of Congress party and the other one being UT chief minister V Narainswamy in Puducherry.
In retrospect, Captain's politics remained unmoved by the strong pro-BJP wave in 2014 and 2019 . In 2014 when Akalis were still in power in the state, Capt Amarinder contested against BJP's Arun Jaitley and won the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. In 2019 – when he was already in the saddle as the Chief Minister – the Congress could manage to win as many as eight seats out of 13 in Punjab.
The total Congress tally in Lok Sabha in 2019 stood at a modest 52 – just an increase of eight from the 2014 figures.