In March 2017, while his party was facing successive electoral routs elsewhere in the country, Captain Amarinder Singh propelled the Congress to a rare and comprehensive poll triumph in Punjab. In 2019, as his party’s electoral fortunes showed no revival nationally, Singh ensured that eight of Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats went to the Congress. Now, a year away from the 2022 Punjab assembly polls, the 79-year-old Singh, one of just three Congress chief ministers across India, has his task cut out–to retain the Grand Old Party’s hold over Punjab while deftly navigating his state through socio-economic challenges posed by the Covid pandemic and the ongoing farmers’ agitation. In an exclusive interview to Puneet Nicholas Yadav, the Patiala Royal explains his government’s priorities for the crucial year ahead and why his plans to retire from electoral politics will have to wait. Excerpts:
Your government completes four years in office this month. What are your priorities and challenges for the year ahead?