The 26th Chief Minister of Punjab and the head of the former royal family of Patiala, Amarinder Singh has also served in the Indian army as an officer. The senior politician is a member of the Indian National Congress and is popularly known as Captain Amarinder Singh, often shortened to Captain.
Amarinder Singh had resigned from the army in 1965 but rejoined to serve during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. He served as the ADC to the GOC-in-C (Western Command) Lt General Harbaksh Singh. He became a member of parliament from Patiala constituency in 1980 but resigned from the Congress party in 1984 to protest against Operation Blue Star. Subsequently he joined the Shiromani Akali Dal but resigned from it in 1992 and rejoined the Congress party.
In 2002, Amarinder Singh became the Chief Minister of Punjab for the first time. The Congress party lost the elections in 2007 and Amarinder was replaced by Prakash Singh Badal of the SAD as CM, Punjab. He was accused by the opposition of being inaccessible and this became an electoral issue in the polls.
Amarinder Singh was in the news in 2014 as well when he contested from Amritsar in Punjab against BJP’s Arun Jaitley for the Lok Sabha. Singh fought against the Narendra Modi wave of 2014 and defeated the senior BJP leader (present day finance minister) by over 100,000 votes.
In 2017, Amarinder Singh led the Congress party in assembly elections and was able to overcome the challenge posed by Aam Aadmi Party to register a landslide win for the Congress in the state. He is a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee.
Singh has been a scholar of Sikh and military histories and has penned several books on these topics. His wife Preneet Kaur also served a minister of state in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.
Amarinder Singh is famous for his forthrightness and strong views on matters related to national security and the Indian army.