Resigning as Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday said “he was humiliated by the Congress high command and will decide his future course of action in politics”.
Speaking to reporters after tendering his resignation to the Governor, Amarinder said future politics is there as an option. “I will use that option when the time comes,” he said. Amarinder said he will decide his future course of action after meeting his supporters.
Amarinder said he decided to resign this morning and informed the party chief Sonia Gandhi about the same. Expressing his displeasure, Amarinder said the way party MLAs were called by the Congress high command for a meeting for third time in two months.
“This is happening for the third time. I think there is element of doubt about me as CM. I feel humiliated. So I decided to resign as CM. They (Congress) may appoint (as CM) anyone they trust,” Amarinder said.
Bowing to the high command, Amarinder Singh resigned from the post on Saturday half-an-hour hour before a Congress Legislator Party (CLP) meeting called by the Congress this evening under pressure from the ‘change seeking’ 40 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) including four ministers.
Amarinder’s resignation came barely two months after cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s appointment as Punjab Congress chief, notwithstanding the strong opposition from the Chief Minister.
Sidhu’s appointment emboldened Amaridner’s detractors in Punjab Congress as they pressed for his removal through repeated show of strength openly.
Days after two ministers publically declared lack of faith in the CM and even accused him of being ‘hand-in-glove’ with Badals (former CM Parkash Singh Badal’s clan), in the latest 40 of 80 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) including four rebel ministers had sent a signed letter to Congress high command seeking a meeting of MLAs to decide if Amarinder enjoys majority.
To Amarinder’s surprise, Congress’ Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat last night announced the emergency Congress Legislature Party meeting at 5 p.m. on Saturday. As it made clear the party high command’s backing for the Sidhu-led rebel camp, Amarinder had little choice but to resign as even his supporter MLAs were not prepared to go against the party leadership barely four months before the Assembly polls are announced in the state.
Rebellion against Amarinder was brewing for some time now for more than a reason. Besides lack of any action against the Badals over their alleged wrongdoings during decade long rule of the Parkash Singh Badal government, Amarinder’s lack of accessibility, reliance on bureaucracy and a coterie of close aides for running the government is believed to have alienated a big number of legislators from the CM.
Moreover, with change in leadership months ahead of Assembly polls, party leadership and most MLAs hope to counter the strong anti-incumbency.
With Amarinder’s resignation, the Congress appears to have played a big gamble as it hopes the new CM face can lead the party’s campaign with fresh energy and enthusiasm and help ensure its victory in the upcoming assembly polls slated for early next year.