Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  The change of guard has not settled the dissension within the Punjab Congress. The MLAs left out in the cabinet expansion are now weighing their political options and some of them are reportedly in touch with former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who reached Delhi on Tuesday amid a strong buzz that he was likely to meet Union minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda.

This is Amarinder’s first visit to the national capital after he resigned as CM on September 18. Amarinder, who had announced after resigning that he was keeping his political options open and that he was talking to his friends before deciding on his future course of action, is expected to stay in Delhi for two days.  He is expected to visit Congress president Sonia Gandhi and may also meet other political leaders, including Shah and Nadda, though there was no confirmation regarding these meetings from either side.

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The former CM, in fact, denied that would be meeting any political leaders and said the media was “unnecessarily indulging in speculation”. “I will go to my former official residence collect my belongings, and return to Punjab tomorrow. I am not meeting any politician, I am just here to vacate my home,” he said. Earlier, his media adviser Raveen Thukral tweeted, “Too much is being read into @capt_amarinder’s visit to Delhi. He’s on a personal visit, during which he’ll meet some friends and also vacate Kapurthala House for the new CM. No need for unnecessary speculation.” 

While the veteran is yet to reveal his cards, party sources in Punjab said some of the legislators from Doaba and Majha regions of the state are in contact with Amarinder. “Already regrouping had begun in the party, but lack of clarity amid the fast-changing political equations has made the choices difficult. Hence, the MLAs are keenly watching all the unfolding developments before taking any final decision.

A clear picture is expected to emerge by the end of next month,” said an MLA. Sources said the grand old party hoped to end factionalism in the state unit by “unceremoniously” removing Amarinder but the move ended up creating three power centres within the party.