Just a week after resigning as the Chief Minister of Punjab, the senior Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the national capital on Wednesday, fueling speculation about the meeting and his next steps.
“Met Union Home Minister @AmitShah ji in Delhi. Discussed the long-running farmers’ agitation against #FarmLaws and urged them to repeal the laws and resolve the crisis immediately with guaranteed MSP, apart from supporting Punjab in diversification of crops,” Singh said. tweeted after an hour-long meeting at Shah’s residence.
While there were reports that Singh may also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there was no official confirmation.
Sources said Singh, asked to step down by the high command after a fierce battle within the state unit in which he found himself isolated, may also meet some “G23” of the Congress – 23 senior Congressmen – on Thursday. group of leaders who wrote to the party president Sonia Gandhi repair demand a year ago
Before next year’s Punjab assembly elections, BJP It is also said that Singh is eager to engage. But any political conversation seems to be centered around controversial agricultural laws – an issue that the BJP is facing opposition from a large section of the farming community in Punjab.
For now, although he has publicly criticized the Congress, Singh remains with the party. BJP sources said that while the party is desperate to find a middle ground on the issue of agricultural laws, both the party and the government have made it clear that there is no question of repeal of the laws. Sources said that in this scenario, the BJP hopes that Singh will help end the impasse.
However, reiterating Singh’s demand for repeal of the laws on Wednesday indicates that the two sides have not reached any conclusion on the contours of any possible engagement. According to sources in Punjab, Singh sought legal opinion on the issue of agricultural laws before his meeting with Shah.
in an interview to Naveen Bharat Last February, Singh said the impasse was to end at the “negotiating table”, and that some farmer leaders had “agreed” to “18 months” (withholding the laws), but that it could go up to 24 months. Is.
While Singh has remained silent on the question of joining the BJP, sources said that he has been in touch with prominent BJP leaders from Punjab for a few months now. On Tuesday too, his team had said that Singh was in the national capital on a “personal visit”, and dismissed speculation that he would meet senior BJP leaders.
For the BJP, even if Singh has lost the support of its MLAs and is facing an anti-incumbency wave, it will be a huge political gain if he joins the party. It will find a Sikh leader – BJP still does not have a credible Sikh political face. With assembly elections due in several states including Punjab next year, if Singh quits the Congress, the BJP will also score a major political victory, especially in states such as Uttarakhand, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where both parties are pitted against . each other.
A BJP leader said, “Like (Assam Chief Minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma, Amarinder’s attack against the Gandhi family will be beneficial to the BJP during the election campaign.”
“But the Captain is yet to show his cards, as he wants to get clarity on the party’s stand on agricultural laws, which he had opposed earlier. He cannot take a stand unless there is clarity on it.’ However, he said the BJP was optimistic about a positive result. He said, ‘Otherwise he would not have met Shah like this.
While resigning from the post of Chief Minister on September 18, Singh had said that all options were open. “There is always an option, and I will exercise that option when the time comes… For the time being, I am still in Congress,” he had said. Stating that “people come and go in politics”, Singh had said, “I have been in politics for 52 years and I will be in politics. I have resigned today but options never close in politics.”
Interestingly, Ajay Veer Jakhar, former chairman of Punjab Farmers’ Commission and president of Bharat Krishak Samaj, had tweeted on Tuesday: “In my judgment, Govt. In principle already decided to withdraw 3 agriculture laws/settlement to the satisfaction of farm unions but issue as legal MSP remains. After so much crisis and loss of trust, hopefully better understanding remains on both sides of the fence.” Jakhar resigned as the chairman of the Punjab Farmers Commission after Singh resigned from the post of Chief Minister.
– With inputs from Kanchan Vasdev, Chandigarh