Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said that Congress’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat’s claim that he was helping the BJP was “outrageous”.
He was replying to Harish Rawat’s remark where he said that Captain Amarinder Singh’s claim that he was humiliated in the Congress was “baseless” and the former Punjab chief minister was helping the BJP.
Amarinder Singh said even his worst critics can’t question his secular credentials and asked why Rawat misled him on party’s stance.
“The only pressure I had for the past few months was my loyalty to the Congress,” said Amarinder Singh.
What did Harish Rawat say?
Addressing the press, Harish Rawat said the Congress always kept Captain Amarinder Singh and his family in high esteem. “Even after suffering a crushing defeat from Patiala Constituency in 1998, he was inducted into the Congress and immediately appointed as the president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) by Sonia Gandhi on three occasions from 1999 to 2002, 2010 to 2013 and 2015 to 2017,” he said.
“Twice, the Congress Party made him the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and 2017 to 2021. As the chief minister, he was given a complete free hand,” Rawat added.
Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the Punjab CM on September 18, had said he felt “humiliated” by the actions of the Congress party’s national leadership.
Harish Rawat said despite continuous reminders from his colleagues and the party leadership, unfortunately, Captain Amarinder Singh failed to keep his promises on important issues like Bargari sacrilege case, drugs, electricity and others.
“There was a general perception throughout the state that Captain and the Badals are helping each other, and they have a secret understanding. I was always politely suggesting him to initiate action on our election promises. At least five times I discussed these issues with Captain sahib but with no result,” Harish Rawat said.
Harish Rawat claimed that the Bargari issue was “mishandled by trusted lieutenants” of Captain Amarinder Singh. “Many prominent ministers came to Delhi with a complaint that now with Captain Amarinder Singh at the helm of affairs, Congress can’t win the elections,” Harish Rawat said.
Harish Rawat said that the Congress high command formed a three-member panel led by Mallikarjun Kharge to resolve the issue which discussed some points to be implemented by the Punjab government. However, Captain Amarinder Singh did not implement even one out of the eighteen points, Rawat claimed.
In a meeting, an “overwhelming majority of Congress MLAs” had very clearly expressed their dissatisfaction on the style of functioning by Captain Amarinder Singh’s administration and “quite a good number of MLAs suggested for his immediate replacement”, Harish Rawat claimed.
Then again, the panel called Captain Amarinder Singh and had a discussion. A time bound implementation course was discussed and mutually agreed. But after going back to Chandigarh, again Captain Amarinder Singh forgot about his promises to the panel and to the Congress president.
“Born out of his stubbornness, he (Capt) was of the belief that he does not need any advice from anyone, including his own MLAs and Ministers and party leadership. However, again I went to Captain Amarinder Singh at his house and had a lengthy discussion with him along with his officials. We came down to five points which he promised to implement within next 10 days. After this, 20 days passed, and we didn’t hear anything from him. The Congress MLAs and ministers were getting restless,” he said.
Harish Rawat said 43 Congress MLAs in Punjab demanded a Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting and despite his continued insistence, Captain Amarinder Singh did not agree to it.
When the party called the CLP meet, Amarinder Singh called a separate meeting at his residence on the same day, Rawat said.
“Before choosing a new CLP leader, a unanimous resolution was passed by all MLAs, (78 were present out of total 80 Congress MLAs) praising Captain Amarinder Singh and thanking him for giving leadership to the state Congress as well as to the Congress Legislative Party as a chief minister. How does these sequence of events suggest that anybody intended to humiliate him? No humiliation was done to him,” Rawat added.
Harish Rawat said it was expected from Captain Amarinder Singh to bless the new chief minister, but nothing happened.
“The chief minister had many times tried to contact him. After meeting Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP’s contact man, the theory of humiliation is being circulated to gain the sympathy of the people,” Harish Rawat said.
“Captain Amarinder was controlling both the government and the party from his farmhouse (home). No one asks him a question regarding his absence from the secretariat, visits in the districts etc,” he added.