Sonia agreed with poll report,says Amarinder

When Congress president Sonia Gandhi gave her reasons for poll debacle in Punjab it was not coming entirely from Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh.

Written by Sukhdeep Kaur | Chandigarh | Published:March 16, 2012 3:38 am

When Congress president Sonia Gandhi gave her reasons for poll debacle in Punjab — People’s Party of Punjab and wrong candidates — it was not coming entirely from Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh.

In his poll report submitted to Sonia on Tuesday,Amarinder cited the 22 rebels who together sliced over 4.6 lakh votes,the populist atta-dal scheme for shift of weaker sections’ mandate and the surge of BSP in Doaba belt as the main reasons for the drubbing at the hands of Akalis.

Describing his meeting with Sonia as very satisfactory,Amarinder said that though PPP was one of the factors,it did not only hit the Congress. “Going by the PPP’s vote share,it made a difference mainly in just 23 seats,out of which Akalis won 12 and we won 11. The party could not secure even a second position in any of the 90 seats it contested,” he said.

Though he conceded that some candidates proved weak,Amarinder dismissed them as a major factor. “They were decided by consensus. They cannot be 100 per cent as my choice,” he said.

On growing criticism from various some sections that he had failed to do enough to mollify rebels — Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa has openly criticised his strategy on rebels — Amarinder said they had brought down the number of rebels from 81 to 22.

“By the time we could reach out to the others,they had already been bought by Sukhbir Badal and refused to bow out. Look at Pathankot for instance. Together,the Congress candidate and rebel polled more votes than the BJP. Same for Sujanpur. Many other seats were likewise lost owing to rebels,” said Amarinder.

On demand for change of leadership,Amarinder said he is not bothered by opportunists. Murmurs of revolt against his leadership have come not only from MP Bajwa but also defeated MLAs like Sukhpal Khaira,Avtar Brar and Surinderpal Sibia. “I will not like to comment on anyone’s remarks. It is for the Congress president to decide who should lead the state unit and will abide by her decision,” he added.

No comments on Saini’s appointment: Capt

The appointment of controversial former Vigilance chief Sumedh Singh Saini as the new Punjab DGP failed to evoke a response from state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh. “It is the government’s decision who they want to appoint as the DGP. I have nothing to say on the matter,” Amarinder said on Thursday. In January,Amarinder had accused Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of funding Congress rebels through Saini. The vigilance chief was trying to reciprocate the favour of the Badal government for shielding him in murder cases pending against him,he had said. Soon after taking over as the Congress president,Amarinder had accused Saini of phone-tapping,killing innocent Sikhs during days of militancy and turning witnesses in cases against Badals’ hostile.

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