Capt. Amarinder Singh born on March 11, 1942, has served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and presently represents the Patiala Assembly segment of the Punjab VidhanSabha. He currently resides in New MotiBagh Palace, Patiala. He is a perfect mix of intellect and politics. His secular credentials take him above the other present day leaders. People who have worked with him describe him as ‘decisive’ and ‘forward-looking’.
Capt. Singh is the son of late Maharaja of Patiala His Highness YadavindraSingh , and Her Highness Maharani MohinderKaur , Rajmata of Patiala. He is the head of the royal house of Patiala belonging to the Phulkian dynasty. He has attended the Lawrence School Sanawar and The Doon School, Dehradun. He has been blessed with two children: YuvrajRaninder Singh and Maharajkumari Jai InderKaur. Till date he is the only head from Punjab Royal House to become the Chief Minister of Punjab.
He was commissioned in the Indian Army in June 1963 and resigned in early 1965. He rejoined the Army immediately because hostilities broke out with Pakistan and took part in the actual operations in war against Pakistan and again resigned after the war was over in early 1966.
A soldier-turned-politician, Capt. Amarinder Singh was inducted into the Congress by Rajiv Gandhi who was also a personal friend. Singh quit the Congress in protest against Operation Bluestar – in which security forces attacked the Sikhs holiest shrine the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. In the immediate aftermath of Operation Bluestar, the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Patiala royal scion AmarinderSingh, came back into the Congress at about the time Sonia Gandhi took over the reigns of the party. Capt Singh is also a former Punjab Minister.
Capt. Singh was elected to the LokSabha on an Indian National Congress ticket in 1980. In 1984, he resigned from Parliament and from Congress as a protest against the Army entry in Darbar Sahib’s complex in Operation Bluestar. He was elected to the state legislature and became a minister in the state government for Agriculture, Forest Development and Panchayats during which Dr. Manohar Singh Gill, Union MoS for Sports and Youth Affairs served him as Principal Secretary for Agriculture.
Capt.Singh broke away from the Akali Dal and formed a splinter group named Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic) which later merged with the Congress. He served as the President of State Congress unit from 1999 to 2002 and later as Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and the Chairman of Punjab Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee for LokSabha election.
His wife Maharani PreneetKaur was elected to Parliament consecutively for three terms from 1999 to 2009 and is now Union Minister Of State of External Affairs of India.
He is currently serving as President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
A major set back in his political career was in Punjab Assemblly elections 2012 where he being the President of PPC party has lost the elections to Akali-BJP alliance. It became a Challange to his Presidentship also he lost a Golden chance to be the CM again.
He surprised everyone by defeating a senior most BJP leader Arun jaitley in Lok sabha 2014 from Amritsar inspite of the poor performance of Congress in the state and in the country. He is an MP from Amritsar and second in command in the parliament for congress.
In March 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections he again came out winner by securing near two third majority for Punjab Congress and became the Chief Minister of Punjab 2nd time.
The 70 -year-old scion of the erstwhile Royal House of Patiala, Capt. Singh is an avid reader has been studying military history and also enjoys writing whenever he finds time to do so. He has written various well-received books like ‘Lest We Forget’ that speaks about the battles fought in the 1965 War and ‘A Ridge Too Far’ on the Kargil conflict. His latest book ‘The Last Sunset – Rise and Fall of of the Lahore Durbar’, on the tallest Sikh king Maharaja Ranjit Singh, is already a best-seller and has received positive reviews world over.
Apart from this, he is a keen flyer, an excellent golfer and a shooter.