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Demand to ‘replace’ Punjab CM Amarinder Singh gains momentum within Cong again

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Chandigarh: Demand for the removal of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh just months ahead of the Assembly polls has once again gained momentum within Congress as over thirty ‘sulking’ legislators, allegedly lost faith in him.

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The fissures within the Punjab Congress came out in the open on Tuesday as 31 legislators and half a dozen ex-MLAs gathered at cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s residence and decided to urge the high command to replace Amarinder Singh as the chief minister, saying that the party’s leaders in the state have “lost confidence in him”.

They were categorically clear in saying after the closed door meeting that it was high time for the party to opt for a change of the guard ahead of the polls.

“Changing the CM is the prerogative of the party high command. But we have lost faith in him,” Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi told the media here.

He said the legislators unanimously authorised a five-member committee to apprise the party President Sonia Gandhi at the earliest about the dissent of the party workers over non-fulfillment of poll promises by the government.

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The five-member committee are Cabinet ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who backed state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in the recent power struggle, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Channi and Pargat Singh, considered close to Sidhu.

Channi slammed the chief minister and his aides over unfulfilled poll promises, particularly the delay in action in the 2015 sacrilege and police firing cases.

He said the panel would seek time from the Congress high command to listen to grievances of legislators and ministers, otherwise it will be difficult for the party to get a repeat in Punjab.

He said the MLAs have raised a number of issues, including the existence of sand, drug, cable and transport mafias.

Moreover, the issue of sacrileges and subsequent police firing cases has not only annoyed the party cadres, but also hurt the religious sentiments of the common man. Also the government has failed to deliver the promised action against drug dealers, they said.

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Joining the chorus, Randhawa said they have the best portfolios with them. “But we are not bothered over losing the portfolios. Our concern is that the poll promises like justice in Bargari and scrapping the faulty power purchase agreements have not been fulfilled so far.”

Interestingly, the bickering within the party came to fore just a day ahead of state affairs in-charge Harish Rawat’s visit to Chandigarh over the growing ‘war of words’ between Amarinder Singh and state president Sidhu.

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