New Delhi: The Congress party tried to “push me out in an ignoble way”, but “I am not ready to go to pasture”, former chief minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh has said.
In a conversation with ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta at ‘Off The Cuff’, Singh also announced his decision to form a new political party, and try and enter a seat-sharing understanding with the BJP, the splinter groups of the Akali Dal and some farmer groups as well.
The leader said he does not “want to go out as a failure” after being in public life for 52 years.
“Everyone has a sense of being let down… you have your own pride. I have done everything in my power for 52 years for my country. And I do not want to go out as a failure. And this pushing me out in this ignoble way amounts to that…that let’s put him out to pasture. And I am not ready to go to pasture. And if I am not ready to go to pasture, then I have to make something of it,” Singh said.
Singh added that he has known Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra since they were kids and that his sense of hurt vis-a-vis the behavior of the Congress leadership towards him is personal.
“I said ma’am I am calling it a day, I am going to be 80…I said after the results you can pick someone as Chief Minister. But I want to go with a bang, not with a failure. What did I ask for? Just to be able to ride the party to victory,” Singh said, explaining his earlier conversations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Singh said that it was weeks after this conversation that Sonia Gandhi called him and asked him to resign from the post of the CM.
Singh said his plans now include “forming the next government” and has “no ideological qualms” in having an understanding with the BJP as he is “all for Punjab.”
“I would like to form the government, with a seat-sharing understanding with the BJP, with the breakaway factions of the Akali Dal, and some farmer groups. If we can form this foursome, we will win,” he said.
On Dalit Sikh lynching, farm protests
On the question of the lynching of a Dalit man from Tarn Taran at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana, allegedly by members of the Nihangs sect, Singh said it “should never have happened”.
“I don’t believe that he was doing beadbi or sacrilege because there were too many people. The person who did it was in a frame of mind he could not control… he may have been intoxicated. Nihangs are known to take ‘sukha’ (a form of intoxication),” Singh said.
Singh also said that he is worried by the increased “weaponisation” of Punjab in the last few years.
On the farmers’ agitation, which has been ongoing for over 10 months now, Singh said it will “only end on an understanding.”
“Any complication has to reach the negotiating table…farmers don’t want any politicians to get involved, they have made that absolutely clear,” he said, also hinting that the central government and the farmers may be inching towards an understanding.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)
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