On a day when a delegation of Congress leaders from Punjab called on Congress General Secratary Rahul Gandhi demanding ouster of state party president,Capt Amarinder Singh,the beleaguered leader got the support of 62 of the 71 candidates who suffered loss in the January 30 elections.
In a joint statement,they opposed a move by some partymen,including Amarinders known detractor Rajinder Kaur Bhattal,for putting the entire blame of Congress defeat on the party president.
Maintaining that there were several other factors which influenced the poll outcome,they appreciated the leadership of Amarinder for leading the party to secure maximum number of votes across the state.
Had it not been for the vigorous efforts of Capt Amarinder,the party could have faced the worse outcome. The final verdict was so close that it could have swung either way, the statement reads.
The candidates questioned the attempts by certain vested interests within the party,some of whom had either no standing or were a spent force,for leading a malicious campaign driven by personal agendas against Amarinder.
Referring to Union Minister Ashwani Kumars (without naming him) call for new leadership in PCC,the candidates termed him as a rootless-wonder who had left Punjab decades ago. The only time he had contested the parliamentary election,he could not poll even 10,000 votes,they added.
Appealing to the party high command to strictly enforce discipline and rein in those elements who were raising the issue in public,they said there was no guarantee that they were not doing it at the behest of the Akalis.
After the Congress defeat at the hands of SAD-BJP combine in the recent assembly polls,voices of dicontent against Amarinders leadership were raised at several platforms by certain party leaders,including Bhattal and Ashwani Kumar.
A section of Congress leaders raised the pitch for removal of Amarinder as the party lost two consecutive polls – last Lok Sabha in 2009 and assembly elections this year under his leadership.