Amarinder Singh, Harish Rawat spar as Congress crisis continues

Harish Rawat accused Capt. (retd.) Amarinder Singh of failing to to keep his promises on important issues and insisted that the latter was never humiliated in the Congress. File   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Amid the ongoing crises in the Congress party’s Punjab unit, the party’s State affairs in-charge Harish Rawat and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday were embroiled in war of words.

After Mr. Rawat accused Capt. (retd.) Amarinder of failing to to keep his promises on important issues and insisted that the latter was never humiliated in the Congress, the former chief minister rejected the claims, saying they were clearly prompted by the pathetic situation the party now found itself in Punjab after being on a winning spree for four and a half years.

“Three weeks before stepping down as CM, I had offered my resignation to Ms. Sonia Gandhi but she had asked me to continue,” said Capt. Amarinder, adding that the humiliating manner in which he was pushed into resigning just hours before the CLP meeting that was clearly convened to oust him, was a matter of public record.

“The world saw the humiliation and the insult heaped on me, and yet Mr. Rawat is making claims to the contrary,” he said, adding “If this was not humiliation then what was it?”

The ex-CM of Punjab recalled that Mr. Rawat himself had publicly stated after meeting him that he was satisfied by his government’s track record on the 2017 poll promises. In fact, the Congress in-charge of Punjab had categorically stated, as recently as September 1, that the 2022 elections would be fought under his (Captain Amarinder’s) leadership and the high command had no intention of replacing him, he pointed out.

“So how can he now claim that the party leadership was dissatisfied with me, and if they were, then why did he deliberately keep me in the dark all this time?” he said.

On Mr Rawat’s remarks that he [Capt. Amarinder] seemed to be under pressure, the former Chief Minister said the only pressure he had been under for the past few months was that of his own loyalty to the Congress, because of which he continued to tolerate insult after insult.

“If the party did not intend to humiliate me then why was Navjot Singh Sidhu allowed to openly criticise and attack me on social media and other public platforms for months? Why did the party give the rebels, led by Sidhu, a free hand in undermining my authority? Why was no cognizance given to the uninterrupted spree of electoral wins I handed over to the party through the four and a half years I was in the saddle,” he asked.

Asking why the Congress was allowing Mr. Sidhu even now to hold the party to ransom and continue to dictate terms. Capt. Amarinder said, “What is the pressure he exerts on the party leadership that they are so defenceless against him and are allowing him to have his way even to the cost of the Congress’ future in Punjab?”

In his remarks on Mr. Rawat alleged that the former Chief Minister was helping the BJP, which he should not be doing, directly or indirectly. He added that despite continuous reminders from his colleagues and the leadership, Capt. Amarinder had failed to keep his promises on important issues like Bargadi, drugs, electricity etc. Capt. Amarinder also did not implement even one out of the 18 points programme of the party.

“Before choosing a new CLP leader, a unanimous resolution was passed by all MLAs, (78 were present out of total 80 Congress MLAs) praising Capt. Amarinder Singh and thanking him for giving leadership to the State Congress as well as to the Congress legislature party as a chief minister. How does these sequences of events suggest that anybody intended to humiliate him? No humiliation was done to him,” said Mr. Rawat.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 1:39:47 PM |

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