New Delhi: The Congress has reached out to Amarinder Singh after his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, amid signs of another big exit from the crisis-hit party.
Senior Congress leaders Ambika Soni and Kamal Nath are trying to placate Amarinder Singh, sources say. But the Captain, who has been in Delhi since Tuesday, has tellingly not sought any meeting with his party president Sonia Gandhi as he continues his meetings with the “other side”.
The former Chief Minister met with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval this morning. Sources say he may have discussed Punjab border security amid political turmoil in the state.
The 79-year-old stalwart has kept the Congress on the edge, neither confirming nor denying that he is exploring his options after being forced to quit as Punjab Chief Minister on September 18, just four months before state polls.
On landing in Delhi on Tuesday, he denied any plan to meet with BJP leaders, claiming he only wanted to vacate the Kapurthala House for new Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
His meeting with Amit Shah finally did happen last evening. After the one-hour meeting, the Captain said he had discussed the farm laws at the core of an 11-month farmers’ protest and ways to resolve the deadlock. He said he had urged Amit Shah to guarantee minimum support price to farmers and support Punjab in crop diversification.
“Met Union Home Minister @AmitShah ji in Delhi. Discussed the prolonged farmers agitation against FarmLaws and urged him to resolve the crisis urgently with repeal of the laws and guarantee MSP (Minimum Support Price), besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification. #NoFarmersNoFood,” Mr Singh posted.
His team called the meeting with Mr Shah a “courtesy visit” and sources said he had not taken any decision on joining the BJP.
For the BJP, the two-time Chief Minister will be a big catch, given that the party has no face in Punjab and its long-time ally Akali Dal broke off ties over the farmer protests.
If Mr Singh swaps parties, the poll math could change vastly in Punjab and encourage the BJP to put up a fight in a state where it has only ever been junior partner.