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Friday, October 22, 2021

‘Congress has become imbued with Sidhu’s theatrics’: Amarinder hits back as war of words escalates

Surjewala says 78 Cong MLAs removed Capt as CM, Amarinder says 'lies to cover up mishandling of crisis'

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 2, 2021 9:43:43 pm
Amarinder singh, Punjab news, Punjab politics, Punjab BJP, Punjab congress, Chandigarh news, BJP, Pakistan, Indian ExpressAfter resigning as the Punjab CM, Amarinder had said that Sidhu should not become the CM of the state as he was “dangerous” and an “anti-national”. (File)

Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh Saturday attacked the Congress, alleging that “preposterous lies” were being floated by party leaders in a “clear bid to cover up their mishandling of the crisis” in the state, his remarks coming hours after party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that 78 party legislators had sought former’s ouster in a letter to the central leadership, and it was not AICC chief Sonia Gandhi who made him quit.

Pointing to “conflicting” numbers shared by AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs incharge Harish Rawat and Surjewala about the “purported” letter that expressed lack of confidence against him, Amarinder said it was “a comedy of errors”.

Rawat had said in a press statement on Friday that 43 MLAs had written to the high command on the issue.

“It seems the entire party has become imbued with Navjot Singh Sidhu’s sense of comic theatrics,” Amarinder said, retorting, “Next they will claim that 117 MLAs wrote to them against me.”

“This is the state of affairs in the party. They cannot even coordinate their lies properly,” he said, adding that the Congress was in a total state of disarray, and the crisis seemed to be escalating by the day, with a large majority of its senior leaders completely disenchanted with the party functioning.

The fact of the matter, said the ex-CM, was that the 43-odd MLAs who had signed the said letter had been forced to do so under duress.

Having been pushed into a corner over its “mishandling” of the Punjab crisis, the Congress is now in a total state of panic which was evident in the statements of its leaders, Singh claimed .

Amarinder said the “panic-stricken” party, which was grappling with internal chaos, was trying hard to shift the blame of its own failures. “It’s sad to see the way they are resorting to blatant lies to justify their wrongdoings,” he said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Surjewala said that when any chief minister loses the confidence of all of his legislators then he should not remain in his post.

“Seventy-eight out of 79 legislators (in Punjab) had written for a change of the chief minister. Had we not changed the CM, then you would have accused us of being a dictator. Seventy-eight MLAs are on one side and a CM is on the other side, and you are not listening to them,” he said while addressing the media here.

“Sonia Gandhi is the president of the Congress party and the decision on changing the CM in Punjab was not taken by her. As I told you, 78 MLAs had written and then we changed the CM,” said Surjewala, adding it was for the first time in Punjab a person belonging to the Scheduled Caste community became chief minister and a new history was created.

Meanwhile, Amarinder pointed out that since 2017, the Congress had swept every election in Punjab with him at the helm of the government, which was in total contrast to the claims being made by the party leadership. In the last Assembly election, the party won an unprecedented 77 seats. In the by-elections in 2019, Congress won three of the four seats, even winning from Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal’s stronghold of Jalalabad.

Even in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party swept eight of the 13 seats despite the massive BJP wave in the country, said Amarinder. In February this year, in the seven municipal corporation elections, Congress won 281 of the 350 seats (80.28%), he said, pointing out that in the polls to 109 Municipal Councils, the party won 97 (it won in 1486 of the 2165 wards or 68%).

“Clearly, the people of Punjab had not lost trust me, as claimed by Surjewala,” said the former CM, adding that the whole affair had been orchestrated by a few leaders at the behest of PCC chief Sidhu, who, for some inexplicable reason, was being allowed to dictate the terms for the Congress in Punjab.

Warning that the party will have to pay a heavy electoral price in the state for these falsehoods, Amarinder said, . “Had I been hand in glove with the Badals, as they are alleging, I would not have spent the last 13 years fighting them in courts,” he said, adding that not a single party leaders had stood by him in his legal battles.

The former CM said after assuming charge in March 2017, his government was successful in cracking all the three major cases of sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which took place between June-October 2015. In fact, the three main accused wanted for the sacrilege incidents were arrested on July 5, within 16 months of the Congress government taking over, he said.

Further, in the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing cases, senior most police officers, including IGP Pramraj Umranagal and SSP Chanranjit Sharma, were arrested within two years of the Congress taking over the state’s reins. About 12 people, including DGP Sumedh Singh Sani and former MLA Mantar Singh Brar, were nominated and chargesheeted in the case. In both these cases, seven chargesheets were filed but some of these were stuck down by the high court, he said, adding that the entire bogey of no action in these cases was created by Sidhu and his aides whose only interest was to grab power, by hook or by crook.

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