Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the post of Punjab chief minister on Saturday, September 18.
His resignation came amid growing turmoil within the Punjab unit of the Congress, even as cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was appointed its chief — a position in which Singh had served in three stints, the last being from 2015 to 2017.
Sidhu, who was once with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before changing colours to join the Congress, has been over the past few months fomenting discontent against Singh and his administration.
This change in leadership could be of great significance in a state like Punjab, which is about to see Assembly elections early next year.
The polls are six months away, if not less, and this resignation by Singh could see Sidhu propelled to a position of power, to the point that he could even be considered the frontrunner for the Congress’ chief-ministerial candidate in the elections.
Singh comes from royalty: His parents were the rulers of Patiala from the Phulkian dynasty.
He served in the Sikh regiment of the Indian Army from 1963 to 1966, and also in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965.
The “captain” in his name is the Army rank, which officials from the armed forces are allowed to keep even after they leave service.
Over the years, beside persuading a career in politics, he has also become a military historian.
Singh has been Member of Parliament twice — once from Patiala and once from Amritsar.
Interestingly, when he resigned in 2017 from representing Amritsar in Parliament, he was succeeded by Sidhu.
There are more overlaps between these two feuding politicians. Both their wives have had political careers, albeit to varying degrees of success.
Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur was a Minister of State for External Affairs at the Centre between 2009 and 2012.
Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu — yes, they have the same first name — was a member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly between 2012 and 2016, having been elected on a BJP ticket at a time when her husband was in the same party.