Captain Amarinder Singh flounders after Rahul Gandhi leaves him in lurch

With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi refraining from naming him as the chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said the decision is taken by the party high command, adding they will announce the name when they find it apt.

ANI| Last Updated: Apr 17, 2016, 19:37 PM IST

New Delhi: With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi refraining from naming him as the chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said the decision is taken by the party high command, adding they will announce the name when they find it apt.

"The elections in Punjab are 10 months away, so wait and see what happens," he said while attempting to downplay the media posers.Responding to a poser about Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal`s tweet in which he had sought to know the reason behind Captain`s removal, he said: "He (Rahul) has said that the Congress Party has the tradition of announcing the CM candidate after the elections are over."

Kejriwal had tweeted on Saturday that the Congress ditched Captain as it announced Captain`s candidature at first for the chief ministerial post, but retracted off late.

Interrupting Captain, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad told reporters, "There is so much time left in election. Second, we have always said that the name is announced after the elections after consultation with MLAs. There could be one or two exceptions. Rahul ji had on Saturday also made it categorically clear that he (Amarinder) is leading the campaign, because he is the PCC president."

"As far as Kejriwal`s campaign against Captain is concerned, it becomes increasingly clear that he is afraid of Captain and that is why he is resorting to social media campaign," Ahmad added.The Congress vice-president, who was in Chandigarh on Saturday, said, "Being the PPCC president, Capt. Amarinder is obviously the leader of the party."He, however, avoided naming him as the Congress` CM candidate, as he had done in 2007 at Sirhind.

Welcoming the Siromani Akali Dal (Longowal) in the Congress` fold, Captain said, "We are happy that Barnala Sahib (Surjit Singh Barnala), who is very known figure is joining us. Now, our party will become stronger."

"I know Barnala Sahib for a long. I was a minister in his ministry as well. He has contributed his entire life in the service to Punjab. His joining will give us greater strength in Punjab," he added.

Expressing her satisfaction over the merger, SAD (Longowal) president and Surjit Singh Barnala`s wife Surjit Kaur Barnala said, "The future of Punjab is with Capt.

Shahib because he has served Punjab for a long and we hope that he will continue his service to the state in future too.

"When asked whether they were concerned about the AAP emerging as a force in Punjab, Captain said, "We don`t consider AAP a force. It was just an upsurge in the last parliamentary elections, but the situation has changed rapidly. And, after seven-eight months, you will find a lot of people living them."T

alking about poll strategist Prashan Kishore`s role, he said, "We are very happy that he is chalking out strategy for us on how to fight the battle, and I am very happy with his strategy."