I had offered to quit, was asked to stay: Amarinder

Amarinder Singh   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

Former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that he had offered to resign three weeks ago, but was asked to continue.

“I was ready to leave after a victory, but never after a loss. I had offered my resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi three weeks ago, but she asked me to continue. If she had just called me and asked me to step down, I would have,” he said. “As a soldier, I know how to do my job and leave once I am called back.”

Capt. Amarinder said he had told Ms. Gandhi after leading the Congress to another sweeping win in Punjab that he was ready to hang up his boots and allow someone else to take over as Chief Minister. “But that did not happen, so I will fight,” he said.

He said he felt humiliated when the Congress Legislature Party meeting was called in a secretive manner, without taking him into confidence. “I would not have taken MLAs on a flight to Goa or some place. That is not how I operate. I don’t do gimmicks, and the Gandhi siblings [former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi] know that is not my way,” he said. “Priyanka and Rahul are like my children…this should not have ended like this. I am hurt.”

Also read: Post resignation, Captain faces a tough battle

He said the Gandhi siblings were quite inexperienced and their advisors were clearly misguiding them.

He said he was still keeping his political options open. He was talking to his friends, before deciding on his future course of action. “You can be old at 40 and young at 80,” he quipped, making it clear that he did not see his age as a hurdle.

Referring to complaints that he was not acting against the “Badals” and “Majithia” in the sacrilege and drugs cases, the former Chief Minister said he believed in allowing the law to take its course. “But now these people who were complaining against me are in power, let them throw the Akali leaders behind bars if they can.”

He took a jibe at Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and his aides over allegations that he did not take action against Ministers involved in the mining mafia. “Those very Ministers are now with these leaders,” he said.

Punjab, he said, was being run from Delhi now. As Chief Minister, he had called the shots and appointed his own Ministers, as he knew the capabilities of each of them. He wondered how Congress leaders in Delhi could decide who was good for which Ministry.

The former Chief Minister said the PPCC should stick to party affairs. “I had a very good PPCC president. I took his advice, but he never told me how to run the government.” Mr. Sidhu, he alleged, was virtually dictating terms and Mr. Channi was simply nodding along. “If Sidhu behaves as the super CM, the party won’t function,” he said. Under this “drama master’s leadership”, it would be a big achievement if the Congress managed to touch double digits in the Assembly elections.

Capt. Amarinder said he would fight Mr. Sidhu’s elevation to post of Punjab’s Chief Minister tooth and nail. He would pit a strong candidate against the PPCC president in the 2022 Assembly polls to ensure his defeat.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 11:52:44 AM |

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