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Amarinder Singh: Ex-soldier, politician, military historian Captain Amarinder Singh
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

Amarinder Singh: Ex-soldier, politician, military historian

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 18 Sep 2021, 08:38 pm

Chandigarh/UNI: A politician and a military historian, Captain Amarinder Singh, who has had a political career of over half a century, has been a close friend of the Gandhi family, and was brought into Congress by Rajiv Gandhi.

Amarinder Singh, who comes from the royal family of Patiala, studied in the Doon School with Rajiv Gandhi.

Singh served in the Indian Army from June 1963 to December 1966 after graduating from the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy. He was commissioned into the Sikh Regiment.

He joined the Congress after being asked by his friend Rajiv Gandhi, and was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980.

His old association with the Gandhi family came as a hindrance as Rahul Gandhi is emerging as the party's top leader. Singh, who refers to Rahul and Priyanka as "children", has had problems adjusting with their leadership, say sources.

He resigned from Parliament in 1984 in protesting the Army action during Operation Blue Star. He joined the Shiromani Akali Dal, and also served as a minister in the SAD government.

He quit the SAD and formed a splinter group named Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic) which later merged with the Congress in 1998.

He served as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee thrice - from 1999 to 2002, 2010 to 2013 and 2015 to 2017, and served as the chief minister of Punjab in from 2002 to 2007.

He is also a Permanent Invitee to the Congress Working Committee since 2013. He defeated senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley by a margin of more than 102,000 votes in 2014 general elections, a major achievement for the Congress which came down to 44, stopping them from even becoming the main opposition party.

In November 2015, Amarinder Singh was appointed President of Punjab Congress in the run up to state elections in 2017. He became the chief minister after the party won the polls, which came as a major morale boost for Congress.

Troubles intensified after Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had quit BJP and joined Congress in 2017, was appointed the president of Punjab Congress in July.

Amarinder Singh was unhappy with the appointment of Sidhu, who had been critical of him.

The Congress leadership interfered and tried to resolve the difference, and also prepared an 18-point agenda for the state government. Singh was miffed with the central interference in the state's governance, said sources.