3 February 2023
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Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday said he was in talks with Home Minister Amit Shah on forming a pre-poll alliance with the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections next year, NDTV reported.

In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Singh hinted that a formal announcement could be expected soon. He said, “My only condition for an alliance with the BJP was the resolution of the farmers’ agitation. I have already met the home minister and spoken to him about an alliance. On Saturday, I hope to see the BJP president.”

He said that a formal alliance with the BJP can be worked on now that the three contentious farm bills have been repealed and other issues raised by farmers are being discussed.

The miffed former Congress leader had stepped down from the position earlier this year over alleged “repeat humiliations” and floated his own party – the Punjab Lok Congress.

He further refuted Congress’ claims of not having any support from the MLAs and said that many are rather eager to join him and are just waiting for the model code of conduct to be enforced.

“As of today, our own feedback is that there’s a total swing towards the BJP. Many Hindus are supporting the BJP and my party. There are 36 percent Hindus in Punjab and we are going to take up that chunk, more than the Congress. Hopefully, we will also get a lot of support from farmers,” he said.

Speaking on BJP’s communal language, Singh cited the example of the Akali Dal that was in alliance with BJP for over two decades. “Akalis are a party of Sikhs and they have had no problem with the BJP. Communalism wasn’t an issue in Punjab,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, Singh met Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar at his official residence to discuss the Bill to repeal three contentious farm laws.

Singh, who led the Congress to a two-third majority victory in the 2017 polls, resigned as the chief minister in September following a bitter feud with Congress’ Punjab unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

He is now gearing up to contest the upcoming 2022 Punjab Assembly elections from his family stronghold of Patiala.

Singh also announced his own party called the Punjab Lok Congress and said it would contest all 117 seats in the upcoming assembly elections. He said the seats are not confirmed yet as they will be shared between his party, BJP, and the Dhindsa faction of the Akalis.

The 117-seat Punjab Assembly would go to polls in early 2022. While the Election Commission is yet to announce the dates, it is expected that the polls would be held around January-February.

Abdul Gh Lone

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