Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh criticised the Congress today over what he called “preposterous lies being floated by party leaders in a clear bid to cover up their mishandling” of the crisis in the party.
Pointing to “conflicting numbers” shared by the party’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat and senior leader Randeep Surjewala on a purported letter received by the Congress’s central leadership expressing lack of confidence against him, Amarinder Singh termed it “a comedy of errors.”
The former Chief Minister’s remarks came after Mr Surjewala claimed that 78 of the 79 Punjab Congress MLAs had written to the party leadership seeking Amarinder Singh’s ouster. “Interestingly, just a day earlier, Harish Rawat had, in a press statement, said that 43 MLAs had written to the high command on the issue,” Amarinder Singh said in a statement.
“It seems the entire party has become imbued with Navjot Singh Sidhu’s sense of comic theatrics,” he said. “Next, they will claim that 117 MLAs wrote to them against me.”
“This is the state of affairs in the party. They cannot even coordinate their lies properly,” Captain Amarinder said, adding the Congress was in a total state of disarray, and the crisis seemed to be escalating by the day, with a large majority of its senior leaders completely disenchanted with the party’s functioning.
“The fact of the matter was that the 43-odd MLAs who had signed the said letter had been forced to do so under duress,” Amarinder Singh said.
Amarinder Singh’s outburst that he was not treated well by the party is not true, the Congress said on Friday. “It is being said that he was humiliated. I would like to clarify that the party has always given him respect and treated him with high regard,” Mr Rawat told reporters on Friday, amid the spiralling crisis in the Punjab Congress that started with Amarinder Singh’s resignation as Chief Minister just days ago.
Amarinder Singh has said he would quit Congress for humiliating him. The Congress leader shocked the party when he went to meet BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, raising speculation that he might join the BJP. But he has ruled out joining any party, and said he met Mr Shah to discuss farm laws.
Amarinder Singh’s tactical move whose outcome is still unknown comes after persistent gnawing by a section of Congress MLAs seeking a leadership change in the state ahead of assembly election next year. Just two months ago, Navjot Singh Sidhu was made the Punjab Congress chief despite objections by Amarinder Singh, who also openly made it known he would oppose any attempt by the party leadership to consider Mr Sidhu for the top post.
“Having been pushed into a corner over its mishandling of the Punjab crisis, the Congress was now in a total state of panic, which was evident in the statements of its leaders… The panic-stricken party, grappling with internal chaos, was trying hard to shift the blame of its own failures. It’s sad to see the way they are resorting to blatant lies to justify their wrongdoings,” Amarinder Singh said in the statement today.