Amarinder Singh quits as Punjab CM amid pressure from Congress
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today submitted his resignation from the post after meeting state Governor Banwarilal Purohit. He was under pressure from the Congress party to quit, though he seemed unrelenting to leave the job. The drama unfolds even as the Congress is set to hold a meeting of its Punjab MLAs this evening.
"I feel humiliated. I feel they doubt my work. I told the Congress President that I will resign. And they can appoint anyone they have confidence in," Singh said at a press conference after his resignation. "I have been in politics for 52 years. I will talk to my supporters and then I will decide on my future in politics," he added.
More than 50 of 80 Punjab Congress MLAs had written to party chief Sonia Gandhi, demanding Singh's removal as the CM. Singh, however, told her that he would leave the party, sources told the media. "This kind of humiliation is enough, this is happening for the third time. I can't continue to stay in the party with this kind of humiliation," he reportedly said.
Punjab's next leader may be decided in the Congress' meeting, scheduled for 5 pm today. The names of former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Pratap Singh Bajwa, and former CM Beant Singh's grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu are doing the rounds as potential replacements. Jakhar, who had hinted at Singh's exit earlier in the day, is said to be the frontrunner among the three leaders.
The ongoing crisis in the Punjab Congress has deepened over the past several months. In July, the party appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the chief of its state unit, despite fierce resistance from Singh and his loyalists. Even though the move was seen as a truce, controversial comments made by Sidhu's advisers had further escalated the tussle.
The Congress is apparently planning to nominate the next Chief Minister soon and facilitate the swearing-in ceremony before the inauspicious days of shradh begin. Punjab is set to go to polls early next year.