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Amid Speculation Over His Future Move, Amarinder Singh Meets Amit Shah; Says Discussed Farmers' Stir
Discussed the prolonged farmers' agitation against farm laws and urged him to resolve the crisis urgently with the repeal of the laws and guarantee MSP, besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification.
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Amid speculation over his future move after resigning as Punjab chief minister, Amarinder Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his residence on Wednesday and said he discussed the prolonged farmers stir with him.
After his meeting that lasted for about 45 minutes, Singh tweeted "met Union Home Minister Amit Shahji in Delhi. Discussed the prolonged farmers' agitation against farm laws and urged him to resolve the crisis urgently with the repeal of the laws and guarantee MSP, besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification.
However, the politically significant meeting, which came days after Singh resigned as chief minister after accusing the Congress of humiliating him, raised speculation over his future plans ahead of the polls in Punjab with some political analysts viewing it as an indication that Singh may be seeking the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
After the Singh-Shah meeting, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that Amit Shah's residence has become the centre of anti-Dalit politics. In a series of tweets in Hindi, he said, "the arrogance of the those sitting in power has been hurt. Because if a Dalit is made the Chief Minister, then they ask who is making the decisions in the Congress." "The centre of anti-Dalit politics is nowhere else but Amit Shah's residence," he alleged.
He also alleged that "Amit Shahji and Modiji are burning in the fire of vengeance...They want to take revenge on Punjab as they have so far failed to serve the interests of their capitalist friends with the black anti-farmer laws. BJP's anti-farmer conspiracy will not succeed. "Singh's meeting with Shah has added another dimension in politics in Punjab where no party is being seen as a clear favourite in the polls, expected to be held early next year. Amid speculation that the former chief minister may join hands with the BJP, a senior BJP leader said such a possibility cannot be ruled out.
A lot will depend on whether the Centre makes a climbdown on the contentious farm laws, other sources said. If the Modi government works to resolve the farmers' issue then it will smoothen Singh's path to either join the BJP or support it, they said.
With the farmers' protests also seen to be affecting the BJP's prospects in western UP, the Modi government may intensify efforts to end the stir. Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are among the five states going to the assembly polls early next year. Sources close to Singh said the former chief minister is learnt to have also discussed the internal security situation in Punjab with Shah.
Singh has been claiming that instability in Punjab may give Pakistan a handle to create disturbance in the border state. He has also accused Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu of being "close to (Pakistani Prime Minister) Imran Khan" and alleged that he is "dangerous" for the border state. Singh arrived in the national capital on Tuesday.
There are reports that Amarinder may call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but there is no official confirmation. According to the sources, the veteran Congress leader may also meet some of the 'Group of 23' leaders, including Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Singh's meeting with Shah assumes significance as the Congress leader has not divulged his future plans but had asserted that he has not quit politics and would fight till the end. Singh has also said that there were several options before him.
He had also launched a scathing attack on his bete noire, Sidhu, who was appointed as the president of the Punjab unit of the Congress. Sidhu quit as the Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday.