After second drubbing in a row at the hands of SAD-BJP,the Congress is caught in a blame game. Partys top-rung leaders are trading charges of pocketing elections funds,lobbying for Cabinet berths,and betrayal. Murmurs of dissent against state president Captain Amarinder Singh have grown into full-blown war with rival factions aligning to oust him. Amarinder,however,has refused to hang up his boots as a defeated general.
The first salvo against Captains style of functioning was fired soon after the poll debacle by Sukhpal Khaira,who lost Bholath seat to Akali candidate Bibi Jagir Kaur. Soon,other defeated MLAs joined the anti-Amarinder bandwagon. While most accuse him of inaccessibility and autocratic style of functioning,some like Ripjit Brar,Surinderpal Sibia and Avtar Brar blame him for creating uncertainty over candidature,not campaigning for them,and supporting rebels. Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa has also demanded a change in leadership. Some 34 leaders have issued a written statement demanding his ouster.
Former leader of opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal recently accused Amarinder of lies,corruption and betrayal. He is not only solely responsible for the defeat but also ensured that some party candidates were defeated, she said. Her most serious charge was on Rs 200-500 crore received as donations by the party.
Amarinder reacted by asking her to furnish details of the donations for a probe by the AICC,and contested her claims on winning candidates. He blamed his detractors for lobbying for Cabinet berths and labelled them as opportunists. I will not hang up my boots, he claimed.