Even as Punjab’s former chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh is busy working out the contours of his new political outfit, his biggest challenge to make a significant impact in the electoral battle would be to find out a resolution to the nearly year-long farmers stir. Amarinder on Wednesday held his first press conference after quitting as the chief minister. Despite claiming that a good number of disgruntled Congress leaders were in touch with him, no leader had so far, at least publicly, expressed support to the former CM.
Even in today’s meeting, no Congress leaders were spotted. Not just Congress but Captain has been trying to woo small breakaway factions of mainstream parties. However, soon after the press conference, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) party leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa clarified that he had held not talks with Amarinder. Dhindsa added that first the issues of the farmers should be resolved, before the issue of elections is discussed.
Even insiders in Congress said that to get people on board, Capt will have to find out ways to resolve the farm stir. Sources close to former CM revealed that given the criticality of the issue, resolution efforts were high on his agenda. Amarinder said he had been discussing various options with Home Minister Amit Shah, whom he will be meeting in Delhi again on Thursday, and others.
“I think I can help in finding a solution as I have been the Chief Minister of Punjab and am also an agriculturist,” Captain Amarinder had told a press conference. While there could be no pre-decided formula for resolution of the farmers’ stir, something will emerge during the talks as both sides (Central Government and Farmers) want a resolution to the crisis triggered by the Farm Laws, he said.
Making it clear that he had not met any farmer leaders, the former Chief Minister said he had deliberately not interfered in the matter as the farmers did not want politicians involved. The farmer leaders had four inconclusive meetings with the Centre but back channel talks have been going on, he added.
He had earlier said any seat arrangement he made with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be subject to a resolution of the farmers’ issue in their interest.