After taking on detractors, Captain faces return fire from ex-Army chief, party MLA

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Wednesday faced a counter-attack from party MLA Pargat Singh, who is known to be close to Sidhu and General Singh himself.

A day after he hit out at his former Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu and mocked General J J Singh (retired) for losing security deposit in 2017 Assembly election, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Wednesday faced a counter-attack from party MLA Pargat Singh, who is known to be close to Sidhu and General Singh himself.

Amarinder had dared Sidhu to contest election from Patiala, his (Amarinder’s) pocket-borough, and mocked at General J J Singh saying Sidhu too would forfeit his security deposit like him. General J J Singh was an Akali candidate from Patiala during last Assembly elections. He later quit SAD.

General Singh, in a series tweets in Punjabi, retorted, “Entire Punjab knows that you are hand-in-glove with Badals. As a part of a conspiracy, Badals helped you in 2017. You are paying them back by not taking any action in Behbal Kalan firing.”

In another tweet, he said, “The 2017 Vidhan Sabha election (Patiala and Lambi) was a fixed match. This is a well known fact. Times keep changing. You had also forfeited your deposit from Patiala once.”

In another tweet, he wrote: “Main tan ikk maamooli jehi chon hareyan han, tussi zameer haar chukke ho (I have lost only an election but you have lost your conscience.)”

Amarinder did not react to the tweets.

More MLAs meet CM, one hits out

Meanwhile, Sidhu’s aide and a hockey Olympian, Pargat Singh, who is also an MLA from Jalandhar (Cantt) also hit out at Amarinder and said he had “weakened” as Chief Minister and was not the same leader as 2002.

Pargat Singh was also a part of a group of 15 MLAs from Doaba, who met the Chief Minister at his farm house on Wednesday. It is learnt that a few MLAs told the CM that it was getting difficult for them to go to people seeking votes.

Pargat came out of the meeting, addressed the media by saying that the CM was against MLAs going to the press but they had no option.

He said, “Captain has turned weak now. People voted for him in 2017 after seeing his performance during his previous regime in 2002. I told him today that people question us that Captain Amarinder and Parkash Singh Badal are hand in glove. Who will break this perception? He has to break this perception.”

He added: “Capt Amarinder Singh was the best brain of Punjab. He could have played his last innings really well.”

When asked that Amarinder had already announced that he would run for 2022, Pargat said, “We will see when the time comes.”

He also advised the CM to get a survey done for himself. “He is getting surveys done. He should get a survey done for himself,” he added.

Stating that Amarinder should take responsibility for the SIT investigation fiasco, Pargat said, “Ultimately, someone has to take responsibility. If my team loses I cannot say it is not my responsibility.”

On CM’s challenge to Sidhu, Pargat said, “CM is like a father figure of the state. If both contest election from Patiala, does that deliver justice in the case? He should introspect that why this situation has arisen?”

Randhawa stays away from Cabinet meeting

Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday appealed to both Amarinder and Sidhu ton exercise restraint. “The biggest issue is of getting justice to the victims. We should put our heads together and not break each other’s head.”

He said he advised them that they both should follow discipline, discuss all this internally and make a SIT and deliver give the report in one month.

On Sidhu looking at other parties, as stated by Amarinder, Bajwa said it did not appear to be so. He said, “I, being a member of the same family, as I am a part of the party for 44 years, I appeal to them to calm down and bring the guilty to book.”

“Being an elder member of the family, I appeal to both the big leaders that they both are Sidhus, they both are from Patiala and they should exercise restraint.”

Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was conspicuous by his absence in the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, two days after he had handed his resignation to the CM in the last meeting over an argument in sacrilege case. The CM had rejected the resignation. But the minister did not attend the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

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