Chandigarh: Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who resigned from the post on Saturday following an escalation in the political crisis in the state, refused to accept his party colleague cum rival, Navjot Singh Sidhu, as his successor and left the door open on leaving the Congress.
“For the sake of my country, I’ll oppose his (Navjot Singh Sidhu) name for 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,” Mr Singh told media.
“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,” the former Chief Minister, popularly known as Captain, said.
Asked if he would remain in Congress, the 79-year-old said, “I can’t answer that right now.”
Speaking to media, he also revealed what Congress chief Sonia Gandhi told him after he called her this morning saying he was going to quit because he had been humiliated. “‘I am sorry Amarinder,’ said Congress President Sonia Gandhi after I spoke with her over my resignation, this morning,” he said.
Declaring that he felt humiliated for the third time, Congress veteran Amarinder Singh on Saturday resigned as Chief minister of Punjab, ending one chapter of dissent but throwing open another of uncertainty for the ruling party in the state headed towards elections in about four months.
Amarinder Singh, one of the Congress’ most powerful regional satraps, put in his papers after speaking to party president Sonia Gandhi and shortly before a crucial meeting of the Congress Legislature Party.
“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 told reporters outside the Punjab Raj Bhawan after submitting his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Over 50 MLAs in the party had reportedly written to Ms Gandhi seeking that Amarinder Singh be replaced as chief minister, a move that capped months of a fractious feud between him and Navjot Singh Sidhu who was recently made state Congress president much against the senior leader’s wishes. The Congress has 80 MLAs in the 117-member state assembly.