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Jockeying for power: Game of checkmate in Punjab CM Capt Amarinder’s team

With Rana Gurjit Singh and Suresh Kumar falling to struggle for ascendancy within CM’s coteries, clash of interests has been laid bare.

punjab Updated: Jan 18, 2018 14:37 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur and Ravinder Vasudeva
Sukhdeep Kaur and Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab CM,Rana Gurjit Singh,Capt Amarinder
With a cabinet expansion imminent, the dynamics are bound to change.(HT File )

Two back-to-back setbacks have plunged the 10-month-old Captain Amarinder Singh government into a major crisis. Two of his trusted men have fallen to a game of checkmate being played within his many coteries. The resignation of power minister Rana Gurjit Singh over corruption charges, and the setting aside of appointment of the CM’s chief principal secretary, Suresh Kumar, by the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday are a result of the ceaseless jockeying for power within Amarinder’s charmed circle.

The palace intrigues are spilling over to the day-to-day functioning of the government, taking a toll on the performance of the Congress.

That the confidants of both Rana and Kumar see each other behind the conspiracy, unwittingly, exposes the clash of interests and ambitions of men Captain has chosen in his team.

Each coterie has its own players, of which some are state and others are non-state actors. They wield influence by controlling access to the CM as his gatekeepers and also through the different levers of power -- bureaucracy, party affairs, courts, police and media. With each power centre, there is a counter-magnet. The palace intrigues are spilling over to the day-to-day functioning of the government, taking a toll on the performance of the Congress which had returned to power after 10 years on the promise of ‘Restoring Punjab’s lost glory and pride’.

With a cabinet expansion imminent, the dynamics are bound to change. The lobby close to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will try to assert itself and the CM, who is seen as inaccessible and functioning ‘part-time’ will have to make some course correction. He would also have to clip the wings of a few so that the government does not seem like a game of snakes and ladders.

Lest the Captain likes the game himself.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 09:42 IST