JAMMU: To say ‘all is well in Punjab is to exhibit ignorance of politics’, as the so-called truce enforced by Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka Congress between the larger-than-life-size Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh and the cricketer turned laughter-man-turned turn-coat politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is just a façade and not the ground reality. This became clear the day Sidhu wore the crown of the Pradesh Congress presidency and the Captain just arrived and left, leaving behind the imprint of his matured statesmanship.By not staying back to the much hyped ‘take-over’ ceremony, the Captain has sent out a loud and clear message of his displeasure. It is different that the Congress loyalists will underplay the brewing dissent which is in the process of manifestation as a death knell for the grand old party which managed to save its fort of Punjab from the Modi tsunami because of the brave presence of the Captain-an ex-service officer, a great patriot and a person having nothing to do with corrupt practices-the Congress is notorious for- because of his affluence and large royal estate in Patiala.The nation still remembers how Amarinder Singh lashed out at Navjot Singh Sidhu-then his cabinet colleague-on August 19m 2018 for hugging Pakistan Army Chief at the swearing-in ceremony of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, saying he must not have shown affection to General Qamar Javed Bajwa.The words of the Captain are still echoing across the nation, “Everyday our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa…I am against this. The fact is that the man (Sidhu) should understand that our soldiers are being killed every day”.The nationalistic credentials of the Capitan have earned him a huge support base across the country. He is not just a Chief Minister of a State but a seasoned politician, who has always kept the nation first. Therefore, the countrymen galvanizing behind him should be seen as his popularity, which has placed the Congress still at commanding position, notwithstanding the rout of the party across India.The Capitan is aware of his political capital. He knows his strength as also the pulse of Punjab, which is why he deliberately took a posture to demonstrate his discomfort on the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the president of the state unit. In his dissent, there is unannounced support of senior Congress stalwarts, who don’t want to come to open in his support. They are the politicians who understand that the Congress is Captain but Captain is not essentially Congress in Punjab. The Capitan has his own identity, his political capital and the experience of long innings in politics that keeps him ahead of all-even the Akalis.The discomfort of the Captain post Sidhu appointment is lull before the storm. The simmering within are surfacing on each day. His loyalists have been openly saying prior to Sidhu appointment that if this is the way the high command will continue to treat the veteran leader, there is no option but to float a new party. However, the truce brought between the two factions is just temporary. All know this. The Sidhu faction and his promoters Gandhis too are aware about such a possibility but their political bankruptcy has failed to see the writing on the wall.Those who know the Captain know well that the Chief Minister cannot work under a choked atmosphere. It is only a matter of weeks, if not days, when the mist will get cleared from the murky Congress politics in Punjab, the only strong bastion of the party in the country. All indications suggest the Capitan deserting the Congress and going independent in the elections just round the corner in a few months. He will certainly transform his political prowess in seats in the Legislative Assembly, as he is well placed to take on the Akalis and the Aam Admi Party, which is eying the next elections to expand its governance beyond Delhi. The AAP is the number two political party in the Punjab Legislative Assembly. In his new Avtaar as a non-Congress political stalwart, the Captain will garner nationalistic votes from unexpected quarters.Once placed in the comfortable zone in the new Legislative Assembly of Punjab, Amrinder Singh will be poised to ally with ‘some important political players’ to form the government. This will be the last nail in the coffin of a party that ruled India-once upon a time.
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