OPINION
Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines
- S Pal
Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines



YOU WILL NOT read this headline in any newspaper, but you are not stupid, either. It's not a piece of news that you cannot read between the lines. That's why most readers often know more about our leaders than the newspapers/news television tell them.

It is about Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's view on the internal bloodshed within the CBI. It's not tomorrow's news today; it is yesterday's news today - unpublished. It is least likely to appear in a newspaper, and still, you are not going to miss it because by now, you know how to read stuff that does not make it to the headlines.

A war has broken out within the CBI. Offices were opened past midnight, the route from the residence of the interim director M. Nageshwar Rao to the headquarters of the CBI was sterilised, a police posse accompanied him to the office, orders were typed out and key officers were shunted out or given plum positions. Rahul Gandhi raised hell, the Congress spokespersons scrambled on different television channels, top articulators of the party's position even demanded sacking of the CVC, and everyone blamed Narendra Modi.
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But how is CM Amarinder Singh linked to any of this? Good question. Thank you for asking — you have just performed a patriotic duty because it is the one question the newsmedia gaggle in Punjab is programmed not to ask.
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Within hours, the BJP fielded Arun Jaitley. Clearly, it was a game far more serious than the blah-blah kabaddi that the ilk of Sambit Patra/Rakesh Sinha play, so heavy guns were needed. On Thursday morning, the national capital exploded with scenes of IB men being caught and dragged on the road and taken inside the residence of the 'ousted' director of the CBI. 

But how is CM Amarinder Singh linked to any of this? Good question. Thank you for asking — you have just performed a patriotic duty because it is the one question the newsmedia gaggle in Punjab is programmed not to ask.

Practically, Amarinder Singh is the only chief minister that the Congress party has in the country. (Yes, we know V. Narayanasamy is the chief minister of Pondicherry and belongs to the Congress, but seriously you need to remind us of that? He rules over a state that has a population less than that of Jalandhar.)

And yet Amarinder Singh is the man no media wallah asks for a comment on the tussle within the CBI. You can bet good money that Amarinder Singh will not open his mouth on the Alok Verma-Rakesh Asthana controversy. So far, he has kept mum on the Rafael deal, a subject about which his party president Rahul Gandhi is shouting from the rooftops.
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His entire party high command issues statements everyday but Amarinder Singh is not inspired enough to put his weight behind Rahul Gandhi's Rafael plank.
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Amarinder Singh is an ex-army man. He is an established author with some expertise on armed forces, is a chronicler of battles past, and matters military. And yet he has not issued a single statement on how the controversy over the Rafael deal and the talk of bribery can affect the morale of the armed forces.

His entire party high command issues statements everyday but Amarinder Singh is not inspired enough to put his weight behind Rahul Gandhi's Rafael plank.
 

In Tel Aviv, where he reached after "cancelling" his visit to Israel (he could have 'postponed' it but then must have been advised to 'cancel' it), Amarinder Singh found time to release a statement about a young minister of his Cabinet so fond of Urdu romantic shairi that he just can't resist to share particular couplets with a woman IAS officer.

Amarinder Singh is at his most eloquent when he decides to stay silent. His silence on Rafael, his silence on CBI, his silence on Islamophobia, his silence on Mandsaur killings of farmers, his silence on the riots in Muzzafarnagar, his silence on silencing of civil society activists and his thousand other silences are in keeping with his pattern of maintaining a silence on any issue akout which his party makes too much noise. So he was silent on the RSS, he remained silent on Mohan Bhagwat advocating change in law and Constitution to construct the Ram Temple, he remained silent on the mob lynchings, he has never broken his silence on the disappearance of Najib in the JNU, he remained silent on the demonisation of the JNU and other universities, and he refused to break his silence even when Narendra Modi directly slams former prime minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress' leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Not once has Amarinder Singh broken his silence to defend Sonia Gandhi/Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case in which both are on bail.
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Find me an Amarinder Singh statement against Amit Shah and I will remember you in my will.
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Forget about that. Amarinder Singh has so far not even criticised the BJP or the Modi government for the flight of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi or a string of loot-and-flight episodes during the Modi regime.

Find me an Amarinder Singh statement against Amit Shah and I will remember you in my will.

It takes a lot of effort to curate such a silence. Amarinder Singh started early, and has practised a lot. He remained silent on beef ban, love jihad, ghar wapsi, Ishrat Jahan encounter, the assault on JNU student leaders, the suicide of Rohit Vemula. He has been practicing silence for a long, long time. Even when Amarinder Singh was forced to speak out following National Herald case, his attack was on Subramanian Swamy, and he managed to criticise the BJP without naming Narendra Modi/Amit Shah/Arun Jaitley.

Now what could be the possible link between Amarinder Singh's silence and the latest CBI imbroglio? The old ED cases. 

This is typical of how the Central government or state governments use instruments of investigation as bargaining chips in political deals. You have an Enforcement Directorate case against you, you better remain mum about a CBI matter against someone else.

Amarinder Singh is not alone in this muck. From Mayawati to Mulayam Singh to Congress to Chidambaram to BJP, they are all old masters at it.

But Amarinder Singh's case is assuming interesting dimensions with every passing day. 
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"Woh toh Amarinder ke baare hee soch-soch kar bolte hain! Amit Shah ke saamne to bathroom niklta hai un ka," a senior Congress leader in the anti-CM camp told me. It was the most polite usage of the term "bathroom" for me.
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You can measure it from the distance at which Amarinder Singh sits from Rahul Gandhi's seat on any stage. Rahul Gandhi did not call Amarinder Singh to Karnataka even for a single day for campaigning in an election that was a do or die for the young leader. 

When HD Kumaraswamy was finally sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka, Sonia Gandhi stood next to Mayawati with Sharad Pawar on the other side. Then was seated Akhilesh Yadav, followed by Sitaram Yechury, Ajit Singh, and then Velu Narayanasamy, the CM of Puducherry. Amarinder Singh, the only other CM of a Congress-ruled state, was not there. His absence was jarring, no doubt, but no one asked why. The Congress did not even issue a perfunctory press release to say Amarinder Singh had some other pressing engagement. 

Do not expect the Akali Dal to call Amarinder Singh's bluff on CBI, Rafael etc. The Akali Dal is already a master at maintaining stoic silences. "Woh toh Amarinder ke baare hee soch-soch kar bolte hain! Amit Shah ke saamne to bathroom niklta hai un ka," a senior Congress leader in the anti-CM camp told me. It was the most polite usage of the term "bathroom" for me.

With Rahul Gandhi now deep in electioneering mode, Amarinder Singh is among campaigners, but it is Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been listed as star campaigner.

Rahul Gandhi has been promising to waive off loans of farmers, but not once has he given the example of his own Congress government in Punjab having waived off the loans of farmers.

In fact, Amarinder Singh's stances have been diametrically opposed to Rahul Gandhi's and Congress' stance. He wrote an article in the Indian Express, demanding a bravery medal for the Indian Army Major who trussed up a man on a jeep and used him as a human shield against stonepelters. He wrote an article in The Tribune, advocating a free hand for the Army in Kashmir and termed any resultant corpses as collateral damage. He, much like Sushma Swaraj, wants ten Pakistani heads for each Indian soldier martyred. 

None of that is something Rahul Gandhi can spout as Congress' line of thinking.

On CBI-Alok Verma-Rakesh Asthana controversy, expect Amarinder Singh to remain silent.

He will return from Israel and will talk about many things, including Charanjit Singh Channi's keen interest in Urdu poetry, but he will not talk about the mid-night coup in the CBI, the role of Narendra Modi in it, or the Rafael deal.

And what he will not say will not figure in the headlines, because we have a house trained media which publishes stuff only when the leader says it. If the leader does not say something, there is no headline. 

These are the headlines that you have to read on your own.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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