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Not consulted,may have suggested different successor: Amarinder

A day after the baton of Punjab Congress was passed on to Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa,outgoing president Captain Amarinder Singh said he was not consulted by the party on the name of his successor.

Written by Sukhdeep Kaur | Chandigarh | Updated: April 17, 2014 12:12:06 pm

A day after the baton of Punjab Congress was passed on to Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa,outgoing president Captain Amarinder Singh said he was not consulted by the party on the name of his successor.

“Had I been consulted,maybe I would have have given a different name,” he said. While Amarinder did not name his choice of successors,it is learnt he would have proposed names of senior MLAs enjoying proximity with him.

Dismissing the claim of his detractors that blame game after the Moga bypoll defeat triggered his exit,Amarinder said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had discussed the issue of change in leadership with him in Delhi almost one month ago before he started campaigning in Moga.

“I had visited Congress president Sonia Gandhi a month ago to discuss the bypoll. She had then spoken about the issue of change in leadership and asked me about my plans and what I wanted to do in the party. I told her I have served the party in different capacities in the last 15 years and it was up to her to decide if she wanted me to continue as the Punjab Congress president till the Lok Sabha elections due next year and I will accept whatever she decides,” said Amarinder.

“She rang me up yesterday to inform about the change in the leadership and asked me to come to Delhi to discuss my future role in the party,” Amarinder added,hinting at being placed in the party’s central organisation.

Claiming that the change was good for him,Amarinder said he has no plans to retire and is ready to play a new innings in the party.

“Do I look so old that I should retire? I started as a Congressman,became an MLA,party president and chief minister in the span of 15 years. Now,I will work in a different capacity. It is not good to be stuck in one position. I am very much going to be there and will perform whichever role is assigned to me by the party president,” he said.

On whether he had called his successor Partap Bajwa to congratulate him,he said: “So far,neither of us have called each other. I will have to see how to convey my best wishes to him.”

Though he welcomes the change,Amarinder contended that the road ahead is not easy for the party in Punjab. “Let’s see how he goes about it. After all,the party has to deal with a brutal person (Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal) who is blatantly using money,muscle and official machinery to win elections. The party will have to think about how to tackle this. If not,we will go down,” he said.

Incidentally,Amarinder had on Wednesday planned a lunch for leaders and workers from Moga — the seat Congress failed to defend in a bypoll recently. As sitting and former MLAs poured into his residence to express their solidarity with him,he met Moga workers and had lunch with them.

On his future plans,he said: “I have been working on a coffee table book on World War II. But I was not able to devote much time to complete it. I will be able to do so now.”

Amarinder’s aide resigns as PCC secretary

A day after Congress leader Amarinder Singh was divested of the charge of party’s Punjab unit chief,his close aide Major (retd) Amardeep Singh on Wednesday resigned as the PCC secretary. Amardeep said it was his “moral” duty to resign so that the new PCC president can constitute his team. In a letter addressed to the newly appointed PCC president Partap Singh Bajwa,Amardeep said: “At the onset of your taking over the reins of the Congress in Punjab and keeping to the traditions of this party,I feel my moral obligation to resign as secretary,PCC,so that you can constitute your team.”

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