No Backend Talks With Congress, Says Captain As He Preps Own Party Launch

The former Chief Minister's aide tweeted that he will soon launch his own party and will hold talks for seat-sharing with BJP.

No Backend Talks With Congress, Says Captain As He Preps Own Party Launch

Captain Amarinder Singh dismissed reports of backend talks with the Congress.

Highlights

  • Amarinder Singh's aide said Mr Singh will soon launch his own party.
  • He said Mr Singh will hold talks for seat-sharing with BJP and others.
  • Amarinder Singh had to resign as Chief Minister last month.
Chandigarh:

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has rubbished reports of "backend talks" with the Congress leadership to retain him in the party. "Reports of backend talks with Congress are incorrect. The time for rapprochement is over. I'm grateful to Sonia Gandhi ji for her support but will not stay in Congress now," Mr Singh's aide Raveen Thukral quoted him as saying.

Following the former Chief Minister's announcement of launching a new party, The Tribune, a Chandigarh-based newspaper had recently reported that "senior Congress leaders are learned to be engaged in backend talks to persuade the former CM to stay in the party".

Mr Thukral tweeted on behalf of the former Chief Minister that he will soon launch his own party and will hold talks for seat-sharing with BJP, breakaway Akali factions & others for Punjab elections once the farmers' issue was resolved. "I want to build a strong collective force in the interest of Punjab & its farmers," he said.

Fearing a split in votes in the state ahead of the upcoming assembly elections, the newspaper reported Congress insiders as saying that the party didn't want Mr Singh fielding candidates against Congress nominees as he is likely to attract disgruntled Congress leaders who were denied a ticket and could divide the party's prospective votes.

Captain Singh, while announcing his plans for a new party, had said that many leaders were already in touch with him and that he'd reveal their names at an "opportune moment". He has also said that his new party plans to contest on all 117 assembly seats in Punjab and is discussing a seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP. He said he is open to aligning with breakaway Akali groups to defeat the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Congress, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the state.

Mr Singh has supported the Centre's recent move to expand the jurisdiction of the Border Security Forces (BSF) in the state, which had triggered a debate on federalism and state autonomy. 

AAP leader Jarnail Singh on Wednesday asked the Congress why it has not expelled the former chief minister from the party for announcing his new outfit and backing the Centre's move of extending BSF's jurisdiction in the state.

Mr Singh had to resign as the Chief Minister last month after a dramatic rebellion by Congress leaders in the state who had been critical of him for allegedly not acting on pre-poll promises that propelled the part's victory in the state. He was replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi.

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