Captain Amarinder Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab, lost the Assembly Election 2022 to AAP Candidate Ajit Pal Singh Kohli. Singh served as the Chief Minister of Punjab twice – once from 2002 to 2007, and again from March 2017 to 2019. Under his leadership, the Congress Party won the 2017 State Assembly Election. However, he resigned in 2019 after months of infighting in the Punjab Congress, as well as frequent assaults on the leader by Navjot Singh Sidhu. He subsequently founded his political party, the Punjab Lok Congress.
Singh stated at a news conference that he felt “humiliated” that a CLP meeting had been called for the third time, and that the party leadership did not trust him.
Captain Amarinder Singh‘s Rise and Fall
Amarinder Singh initially became an MP in 1980, when he was involved in the discussions to resolve the Punjab quandary. Despite being a close friend of the Gandhis, Singh resigned from the party and Parliament as a result of Operation Blue Star. The Operation Blue Star in 1984 and the Bargari Sacrilege the following year changed the tides against the Congress and SAD, respectively, but it was Captain Amarinder Singh who emerged as a towering leader after exiting after these two disasters.
In 1985, he moved to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and became a minister in Surjit Singh Barnala’s government. When police raided Darbar Sahib on Barnala’s orders, he resigned from the cabinet seven months later. As a result of the action, Amarinder rose to prominence as a Sikh leader. The strategy worked for Amarinder and aided his ascension to the CM’s office later that year.
According to reports, it was only Amarinder’s acceptability among Sikhs that helped revitalise Congress in Punjab after 1999. The party had become untouchable for Sikhs, as seen by the 1996 and 1998 federal elections, as well as the 1997 assembly elections. However, Amarinder became a driving force in the resurgence of the Congress party in Punjab thereafter.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he ran against BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar. Even though Congress was defeated with the lowest vote count, Amarinder Singh won the election and took over the party’s state presidency from Partap Singh Bajwa.
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The governing Akali Dal was dropped to third place in the 2017 legislative elections. The Congress Party obtained a majority, with the bulk of seats coming from rural districts populated by Sikhs.
However, he began to slide from grace when he openly criticised the opening of the tunnel to Kartarpur Sahib. Following his resignation, he aroused more scepticism when he stated that he will soon announce the formation of his political party, adding that he is also open to creating an alliance with the BJP for the 2022 Punjab assembly elections.
This came only a month after Amarinder resigned as state Congress president, alleging “humiliation” amid an intense power battle with Punjab MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was chosen as the state Congress president.
This was a significant setback to his political image, as the 2021 farmers’ protest against the BJP was backed by the vast majority of the Punjabi people.
Furthermore, in January of this year, the former Punjab Chief Minister stated that the BJP is the only party capable of addressing the state’s security and economic concerns, and he chastised the Congress and AAP for making unfulfilled election promises.