Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Saturday resigned as chief minister of Punjab, capping months of a power tussle that had polarised the ruling party in the state headed for elections in four months.
“I feel humiliated,” Amarinder said outside the Punjab Raj Bhawan after submitting his resignation to the governor. To questions on what his next plan was, Amarinder said, “All options are open.”
“All these claims and allegations that there was resentment in Punjab against my leadership, my government, are false and motivated. I don’t know what prompted the Congress leadership, I just felt very humiliated. In the history of our democracy, show me any chief minister who has fulfilled 92 per cent of the party’s poll manifesto. I did it and I explained all of it to the central leadership. I wrote to them detailing everything my government has done. All this talk from some quarters of an 18-point agenda being unfulfilled is rubbish. The 18-point agenda is from the manifesto. My options are open, I will talk to my people. I know I have served the people of Punjab with all honesty, my Punjabis know this too. They will decide whether I did well as CM or did not. Don’t go by the propaganda being spread against me,” Amarinder told The Federal.
Amaridner’s resignation came hours before a crucial meeting of the Congress Legislature Party on Saturday evening. “The thing is that this is the third time the party called the MLAs. You have an element of doubt on me…. I feel humiliated,” he said.
Asked about his future, he said, “As far as my future politics is concerned, there is always an option and I will use that option when the time comes. I am with the Congress party. I will talk to my supporters and decide the future course of politics. All options are open.”
An NDTV report said the Captain ruled out accepting his rival party colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu as his successor, calling him an “incompetent man”.
“For the sake of my country, I’ll oppose his (Navjot Singh Sidhu’s) name for the Chief Minister of Punjab. It’s a matter of national security. Pakistan PM Imran Khan is his friend. Sidhu has a relation with Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa,” the veteran Congressman reportedly said, adding: “Navjot Singh Sidhu is an incompetent man. He was a total disaster in my government. He couldn’t run one ministry I gave him. He did not clear files for seven months.”
Amarinder said he decided on Saturday morning to resign from his post and that he had spoken to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and informed her about his decision. Singh was accompanied by his wife and MP Preneet Kaur and son Raninder Singh when he submitted his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Sources close to Amarinder say he is unlikely to float a new party ahead of the Punjab polls but could resign from the Congress and refuse to campaign for the party’s candidates.