IN REMARKS THAT left much of the media stunned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that Congress had little control over Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who has been functioning like an "independent soldier."
But one should have been stunned about anyone being even slightly surprised by the Prime Minister's remarks.
In fact, the only debatable phrase that Modi used about Amarinder Singh was "independent," chuckled a senior journalist.
Just a day before Modi chose to underline the ideological distance between Amarinder Singh and the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress on most issues, Punjab Today had carried a detailed story enumerating the points of differences.
In fact, just hours before Modi delivered his victory speech after the BJP's emphatic victory in Tripura, in Punjab Today had carried yet another story that argued: "Amarinder Singh, with a little nudge by the Enforcement Directorate, has firmly walked into the saffron camp, reminding us of his nationalist positioning with his articles and stances regularly."
"Punjab mein...na yeh us ko apna maante hain, na yeh un ko apna maante hain..woh swatanter fauji hai," Modi said, referring to the distance between Amarinder Singh and Congress.
(Rough translation: "In Punjab, the Congress does not even consider their CM as their own. He marches on like an independent soldier.")
While Amarinder Singh accused Modi of making "frivolous statements” and said he was trying to create a wedge between him and the Congress, the Chief Minister's own public positions and stances are for anyone to judge.
Amarinder said the Congress "has full faith in my leadership & vice versa."
Narendra Modi's public taunting of Congress has a context, as repeatedly pointed out in various reports by Punjab Today. In fact, some of his stances on the most crucial issues are much closer to the BJP, RSS than even Akali Dal's Parkash Singh Badal-Sukhbir Singh Badal duo.
Both Amarinder and Badal have been maintaining a stoic silence on many sensitive issues.
Unlike Rahul Gandhi's and Congress' spokespersons' near daily utterings, statements, tweets, Amarinder Singh has not uttered a single word against Love Jihad, Ghar Wapsi, Anti-Conversion Bill, Mohd Akhlaq/Pehlu Khan killings, lynchings, harassment of anyone travelling with cows or other cattle, or young protectors of Indian traditions browbeating young men and women on Valentine’s Day.
Amarinder Singh has never uttered a single word against Love Jihad, Ghar Wapsi, Anti-Conversion Bill, Mohd Akhlaq/Pehlu Khan killings, lynchings, harassment of anyone travelling with cows or other cattle. His comrade in this lovefest with the saffron are the Badals.
Amarinder Singh's public stances are a matter of record. He wrote
an article in the Indian Express to argue that the Army Major who strapped a Kashmiri citizen on the bonnet of his jeep as a human shield should be celebrated and awarded. (https://goo.gl/Jt7qwa
Amarinder Singh was in lockstep with the Narendra Modi dispensation, completely keeping out his own party leadership, when it came to dealing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi did not so much as even squeak when it came to meeting Trudeau while Amarinder Singh and BJP's Ram Madhav made so much song and dance about it.
Not for nothing did Modi say "na yeh us ko apna maante hain, na yeh un ko apna maante hain."
But is he a "swatanter fauji?" That's a question one can answer only when you take the Enforcement Directorate out of the equation.
"It is not PM Modi who is driving a wedge between Amarinder Singh and Congress or Rahul Gandhi. Amarinder has walked far away from anything resembling the Congress' core ideology. Forget a wedge, there is an abyss between his stances and the Congress line peddled by the party's national spokespersons," said a political analyst.
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