After he tendered his resignation on Saturday, Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh became the first chief minister of Punjab in 24 years to step down before the completion of a full five-year term.
File photo of Captain Amarinder Singh | PTI
- Before 1997, only Giani Zail Singh could complete his full term as Punjab CM
- Rajinder Kaur Bhattal became the first woman to occupy Punjab chief minister’s chair in 1996
- Captain Amarinder Singh remains Congress party’s only Punjab CM to win two assembly elections
Cornered and ‘humiliated’, Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as the Punjab chief minister. He became the first Punjab chief minister not to complete his five-year term since 1997. In between, Punjab saw Parkash Singh Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh each serving as chief minister for two full terms.
These 24 years, incidentally, was the period when Punjab for the first time saw political stability following the practice of replacing chief ministers before the completion of their term. This was the post-Khalistan insurgency period in Punjab.
The current state of Punjab came into being in 1966. Before 1997, only Giani Zail Singh could complete his full term as Punjab CM during 1972-75.
Post-insurgency period in Punjab
Post-insurgency was when the assembly election was held in Punjab in 1992 following close to five years of President’s Rule that had been imposed in the wake of pro-Khalistan insurgency. Congress leader Beant Singh became the chief minister.
His assassination in 1995 saw two chief ministers taking oath in Punjab before the next assembly election in 1997. Beant Singh was the first chief minister to have been assassinated while in office.
After his successor Harcharan Singh resigned in 1996, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal became the first woman to occupy Punjab chief minister’s chair. Bhattal, incidentally, was the Punjab chief minister with the shortest term in office.
Amarinder only Congress leader to win two assembly elections
Since 1997, Badal served three full terms as Punjab chief minister till 2017 with Captain Amarinder Singh interspersing as CM from 2002-07.
Captain Amarinder Singh became only the second Congress leader to complete a full term as Punjab chief minister. He remains the only Punjab chief minister from the Congress to win two assembly elections since the formation of Punjab in 1966.
His second term as Punjab chief minister was cut short by six months with Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu leading a rebellion against Captain Amarinder Singh. Punjab is due for assembly polls in February next year.
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