NEW DELHI: A day after former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced that he is open to alliance with the BJP, Congress leader Harish Rawat said, “if he wants to go, he should”. “If he wants to eat crow and go with BJP, he can. Who can stop him if he can’t stay with his old commitment to secularism? He was considered a symbol of ‘Sarvdharm Sambhav’ and connected to Congress’ traditions for long. If he wants to go, he should,” Harish Rawat told reporters. “Who can forgive BJP that has kept farmers at the borders for 10 months? Can Punjab forgive them for the manner in which farmers’ agitation has been dealt with? His statement is really shocking. It seems he has killed the ‘secular Amarinder’ within him,” he added. Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he would soon announce his own political party and is hopeful of a seat arrangement with the BJP if the farmers’ issue is resolved in their interest. “The battle for Punjab’s future is on. Will soon announce the launch of my own political party to serve the interests of Punjab and its people, including our farmers who’ve been fighting for their survival for over a year,” Singh said Tuesday. “Punjab needs political stability and protection from internal and external threats. I promise my people I will do what it takes to ensure its peace and security, which is today at stake,” he was quoted as saying by his media adviser in a tweet. “Hopeful of a seat arrangement with BJP in 2022 Punjab Assembly polls if farmers protest is resolved in farmers’ interest. Also looking at alliance with like-minded parties such as breakaway Akali groups, particularly Dhindsa and Brahmpura factions,” Singh, who had faced an unceremonious exit from the state government last month, said. Meanwhile, Rawat maintained that Amarinder’s move will not hurt Congress’ poll prospects in Punjab. “Congress will not suffer any loss, this will actually divide the votes of our rivals. Congress will not be affected. Our votes will depend on performance of Channi government, the way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation,” Harish Rawat said. Singh resigned as chief minister of Punjab last month after a bitter feud with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and infighting in the state unit. The party replaced him with Charanjit Singh Channi.

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