Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Tuesday that former prime minister Manmohan Singh was “never in the reckoning”, rejecting reports that the Congress may field him from Amritsar in the Lok Sabha polls.
He also denied any alliance talks with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or any other party for the polls in the state.
“The Congress did not need any alliance in Punjab, nor was it in talks with any party on the same,” he said.
Earlier in the day, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal said in Delhi that his party and a breakaway outfit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are in talks for an alliance in Punjab for the Lok Sabha polls.
Amarinder Singh, who turned 77 on Monday, described his meeting with the former prime minister in Delhi as a courtesy call, during which he briefed him about Congress’ plans in Punjab.
“Former prime minister Manmohan Singh was never in the reckoning for candidature as he had made it clear that he was not interested in contesting elections,” the chief minister said here.
He along with party’s in-charge for Punjab affairs Asha Kumari and state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar had met Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Sunday and according to some reports, they urged him to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar.
Although some reports suggested that Manmohan Singh was not inclined to contest polls because of his age.
Exuding confidence about the Congress prospects in the parliamentary elections, Amarinder Singh said the party was gung-ho about these polls, as was evident from the fact that it had chosen Ahmedabad — the home turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — for the CWC meeting.
In response to a question on the Punjab Congress candidates, Amarinder Singh said the next meeting was likely to be held in Delhi around the end of this week.
Asked about the party’s star campaigner in the state, the chief minister said it was up to the Congress high command to decide the names of the key campaigners for the party in these elections.
On whether the IAF air strike across the LoC would prove beneficial to the ruling BJP at the Centre, Amarinder Singh, who was an Army captain, said with Indian soldiers continuing to be killed every day, the air strike had clearly not proved to be a deterrent so far against Pak-backed attacks on India.
He reiterated that no attempts should be made to politicise the Indian forces.
“The armed forces are apolitical and are above the petty considerations of caste, religion and political affiliations,” the chief minister said.
Amarinder Singh expressed happiness at the fact that the Kartarpur Corridor project had remained on track despite the recent tensions at the border.
Islamabad had also clarified that the latest events will not have any adverse effect on the project, he said, adding that the corridor was something that people on both sides wanted. PTI