Punjab CM Amarinder quits amid ongoing turmoil in Congress
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday resigned amid the ongoing infighting in State unit of the Congress, saying he felt humiliated.
Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, convened by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on September 18, Capt. Amarinder handed over his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
“I have resigned from the post of Chief Minister. I spoke to the party president and conveyed that I shall be resigning in the morning itself. The point is that it was the third time in the past few months that MLAs are being summoned to Delhi (by party central leadership); it gives an impression of element of doubt upon me for not being able to run (the government), but I feel humiliated the way things have gone,” Capt. Amarinder told the media after submitting his resignation.
“I decided to quit, and they can elect anyone as Chief Minister who they trust,” he added.
On his next course of action, Capt. Amarinder said he would decide after talking to his supporters. “Future politics is always an option and I’ll use it at an appropriate time,” he said.
He reiterated the same answer when asked if he would support the new chief minister.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have spoken to the Chief Minister, asking him to step down, after nearly 40 MLAs wrote to the party’s central leadership against the Capt. Amarinder, expressing “lack of faith in the leadership of the Chief Minister in fulfilling the party’s 2017 Assembly election promises.” The MLAs are alleged to have said that hardly anything was being done towards fulfilment of the 18-point programme issued by the party high command and demanded a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party.
Following the letter, All India Congress Committee in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat said in a tweet: “The AICC has received a representation from a large number of MLAs from the congress party, requesting to immediately convene a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party of Punjab. Accordingly, a meeting of the CLP has been convened at 5:00 PM on 18th September at Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office.”
“AICC directs the PPCC to facilitate this meeting. All Congress MLAs of Punjab are requested to kindly attend this meeting,” he added.
Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu later tweeted “As per the AICC directive, Congress Legislative Party meeting has been convened at @INCPunjab PPCC Office, Chandigarh on 18 September 2021 (Saturday) 5 p.m..”
Those who have raised the banner of revolt against Capt. Amarinder include four Ministers — Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Sarkaria and Charanjit Channi — apart from other MLAs.
Saturday’s dramatic resignation is the latest epidsode in the power tussle between Capt. Amarinder and former minister and PPCC chef Navjot Sidhu. The latter was appointed on July 18 as president of the PPCC in an apparent attempt to resolve the crisis. Capt. Amarinder and Mr. Sidhu have been at at loggerheads since the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.