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Punjab CM Captain Amarinder steps down, will he exit Congress?

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Chhattisgarh: Captain Amarinder Singh, one of the Congress’ most influential regional leaders, met Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Saturday and tendered his resignation, 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.

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Speaking to reporters at Raj Bhavan, he said: “I feel humiliated.. this is the third meeting of MLAs.. I have resigned. I spoke to the Congress president today morning and said I will resign today.”

Notably, ahead of a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) in Punjab today evening, the party’s high command is learnt to have asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to resign to facilitate the election of a new leader. The embattled Chief Minister, however, appeared unrelenting until this evening.

Sources said Amarinder spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi this morning and told her he is being humiliated and will instead resign from the party.

The dramatic events in the Punjab Congress unfolded even as the AICC has decided to convene a meeting of the CLP this evening in the wake of a fresh letter by a section of the MLAs.

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Sources said former PCC president Sunil Jakhar, once an associate of the Chief Minister, is among the names being considered for the chief minister’s post.

There are two different versions of the Gandhi-Singh telephonic conversation. Sources said Gandhi called him in the morning and told him about the party’s wish. He is likely to submit his resignation shortly, a source privy to the development said.

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Another source said he has told her he will quit the party.

It is learnt that the top party leadership got into action this morning to convey the wish of the party high command and the Punjab Congress MLAs.

The Congress had, Saturday midnight, announced that a CLP meeting would be held after a representation from party MLAs. Sources said a one-line resolution will be passed in the CLP authorising the Congress president to nominate the CLP leader, a source said.

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The party, it seems, is planning to nominate the next chief minister soon and is also preparing for the swearing-in before the inauspicious days of shradh begin.

It is be mentioned that 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.

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