Amarinder Singh likely to launch new political party today
Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is on Wednesday likely to launch a new political party, the Punjab Lok Congress, according to people familiar with the developments.
A formal announcement is expected at a media conference called by the two-time former CM in Chandigarh.
“The event will be telecast live on his Facebook page. Do tune in,” Singh’s media adviser Raveen Thukral tweeted on Tuesday, extending an invite to the media.
On October 19, Amarinder was quoted as saying by Thukral that he planned to soon announce his political party, and was hopeful of sealing a seat arrangement with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if the farmers’ issue was resolved. HT was the first to report on October 2 that this development on the cards.
Though there was some talk in political circles about the former CM mediating between the Centre and farmer groups to end the impasse over three controversial farm laws, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of 40 farm unions, has denied that he is being part of any such effort.
Singh resigned as the Punjab CM on September 18 after a bitter tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu amid infighting in the state party unit. The Congress later picked Sikh-Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi as the CM. Amarinder later said he was quitting the Congress — a day after a meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah though he described the interaction as a “courtesy call”.
When asked about the impending announcement by Amarinder, deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, one of the Congress leaders who rebelled against the former CM and has been targeting him over his links with former Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam, said no one can be stopped from charting his own political course.
On October 22, Randhawa, who is also the home minister, said the state government will launch a probe into Alam’s alleged links with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). Singh, however, termed it a “baseless investigation”, and accused the deputy CM of resorting to personal attacks.
Ashutosh Kumar, professor of political science, Panjab University, said: “This (launch of new party) was on the cards from the time he announced he will quit the Congress. The main aim appears to be to dent the Congress. Though his next step will be to have an arrangement with the BJP as he has already indicated, the farmers’ protest will be a tricky issue...”