Says he met Ajit Doval to discuss security related issues; adds that he will not let Sidhu win in the Punjab Assembly elections.

Scotching speculation to the contrary, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh made it clear on Thursday that he was not joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, but had no intention of continuing in the Congress, which he said was going downhill, with senior leaders completely ignored and not given a voice. Singh’s clarification came amid indications that Navjot Singh Sidhu was likely to continue as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president.

Denying any move to join the BJP, Captain Amarinder said he would leave the Congress where he had been utterly humiliated and was not trusted. “I will resign…will not stay in the party,” he said, adding that he was still thinking through his options in the interest of Punjab, whose security was the predominant priority for him. “I will not be treated in this humiliating manner…I will not take such insults,” he said, adding that his principles and beliefs did not allow him to stay in the Congress.

Terming senior Congressmen as the thinkers who were critical to the future of the party, the former Chief Minister said the younger leadership should be promoted to implement the plans that the senior leaders are best equipped to formulate. Unfortunately, the seniors were being completely side-lined, he said, adding this was not good for the party. He also condemned the attack on Kapil Sibal’s house, allegedly by Congress workers only because Sibal had chosen to express views that were not palat able to the party leadership.

Expressing the hope that Punjab would vote for the future of the state, he said his experience showed that the people of Punjab tended to vote for a single party/force, irrespective of the number of parties in the fray. Misgovernance in Punjab would give Pakistan the opportunity to create trouble in the state and in the country, he said, adding that his meeting with NSA Ajit Doval on Thursday morning centred around this issue. It may be recalled that Captain Amarinder Singh had raised security concerns with Home Minister Amit Shah too, along with the farmers’ issue, during his meeting with the latter on Wednesday.

Taking a dig at those who undermine the growing Pakistani threat in Punjab, he said that such people were playing into the hands of anti-India forces by being in denial mode. “They (Pak-backed elements) are killing our soldiers every day; they are pushing weapons into the state through drones. How can we overlook these dangers?” he added.

Reiterating his opinion of Navjot Singh Sidhu, Captain Amarinder described the former cricketer-comedian as a mere crowd puller who did not know how to carry his team along. Pointing out that he had personally worked with many PPCC chiefs, besides himself being one, he said he always resolved issues amicably, without indulging in theatrics like Sidhu. Amarinder Singh also said he would not let Sidhu win the 2022 Assembly elections. “I had said it before also that Navjot Singh Sidhu is not the right man for Punjab, and if he contests, I will not let him win…,” Amarinder Singh told reporters after returning to the state from Delhi.

Meanwhile, the issue of Sidhu’s resignation from the post of PPCC president and his displeasure with the state government on some issues relating to appointments on crucial posts have almost been resolved. According to sources, Sidhu is likely continue as PPCC president. According to the information, the high command observer Harish Chaudhary and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi were also present in the meeting with Sidhu at Punjab Bhawan on Thursday. According to sources, Sidhu has agreed to constitute a three-member committee to resolve the issues raised by him. Channi and Harish Chaudhary will also be its members along with Sidhu. According to sources, since Sidhu will be a part of this committee, he will continue to hold the post of PPCC president.

Though no formal statement has been issued by the Congress or any party leader in this regard, according to reliable sources, the dispute has been resolved after discussions in the meeting. It was agreed in the meeting to discuss and resolve the issues raised by Sidhu. At the same time, the three-member committee will play an important role to coordinate between the state Congress and the Punjab government. It may be noted that Sidhu had objected to the appointment of the DGP, Advocate General and inclusion of some MLAs into the Punjab Cabinet and on Tuesday resigned from the post of Congress state president. After this, the party high command instructed Punjab party leaders to resolve the dispute at their own level and the issue was almost resolved in the meeting held at Punjab Bhawan on Thursday.