Captain Amarinder Singh has on Saturday resigned as the Punjab Chief Minister as the Congress crisis deepens in the state ahead of the assembly polls. His resignation has come after the episodes of tussle, furore, and feud with Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. The captain's innings has come to an end by triggered a fresh battle for his replacement. Amarinder Singh was the 15th Chief Minister of Punjab, having served two terms - from 26th February 2002 to 1st March 2007 and from 16th March 2017 to 18th September 2021.
On Saturday evening, Amarinder Singh drove to Raj Bhavan and tabled his resignation to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit. After tendering his resignation, Singh had addressed the reporters during which he said that he was humiliated and put a sense that he has been sidelined by the party's leadership, which fully backed Sidhu, during the latter's appointed as the party chief in Punjab. While it was speculated that he will completely divorce from the party, he affirmed that he will stay with Congress and will decide the next course of action after consulting with his supporters.
While addressing the reporters, Amarinder Singh said, "I feel humiliated by the way talks transpired. I spoke with the Congress president this morning, told them that I will be resigning today. This is the third time in recent months in meeting MLAs, which is why I decided to quit". "I am in the Congress party and will consult with my supporters and decide the future course of action", Amarinder Singh added. Responding about his successor, Singh said, "Whoever the party high command have faith in, can make them Punjab Chief Minister."
His comments were in a fashion of hitting out the party. According to reports, the party's high command had asked Amarinder Singh to resign as the Chief Minister on Saturday. Party's interim chief Sonia Gandhi had asked Amarinder to step down to facilitate the election of a new leader. However, Singh had initially refused and later told Sonia Gandhi that he will quit the party as he can't continue with this kind of humiliation. Singh had expressed his disappointment over convening the MLAs meeting on Saturday without his knowledge and the tussle had pictured that nothing is going well between the Captain and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Congress has on Friday announced that the meeting with its MLAs will be held on Saturday at 5 pm. As Singh wasn't invited, he had decided to tender his resignation before the commencement of the meeting and he met Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit at around 4.30 pm on Saturday and tabled his resignation and the resignation of his council of ministers. The meeting was called by AICC General Secretary in charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat and the reports in the know have said that former Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar, once an associate of the captain, is among the names being considered for the Chief Minister's post.
The meeting was attended by party's observers Ajay Maken and Harish Choudhary. The political climate in Punjab has been stormy for the past few months and now, it has got advanced as a cyclone with Amarinder Singh's decision of quitting the party ahead of the crucial polls. Earlier, over 50 to 80 Congress MLAs in Punjab had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding to replace Amarinder Singh with a new Chief Minister, ahead of the polls. As the group, akin to G23, had stirred tension within the party, it has called the meeting with the MLAs to decide further move.
Throwing more weight to the speculations that Amarinder Singh will resign, his son has tweeted that his father will submit his resignation to Punjab Governor. Taking to Twitter, Amarinder Singh's son Raninder Singh said, "Haha indeed must go now as I am proud to accompany my father to Raj Bhawan when he submits his resignation as CM of Punjab and leads us as head of our family into a new beginning et all. As the Congress holds a crystal clear majority of 80 MLAs in a 117-member assembly, former Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar holds the edge to replace Amarinder Singh.
Punjab will go for the assembly polls during February -March 2022 and the people of Punjab had the change of guard in the state as their weekend special as the resignation has come five months ahead of the polls. As the political crisis escalates in Punjab, the BJP is keenly watching the developments as they unfold with shocking turns and twists. Amarinder Singh is known for being a versatile political figure in India. From being a soldier, military historian, a chef, to a politician, Singh's life orbit has a composite nature and his innings as the Chief Minister has come to end on Saturday. What is continuing is the intra-party political crisis of Congress and the party is in a critical state of fixing the crisis before trying to unite all the opposition parties under one roof.
I feel humiliated by the way talks transpired. I spoke with the Congress president this morning, told them that I will be resigning today... This is the third time in recent months in meeting MLAs... which is why I decided to quit..:Amarinder Singh after resigning as Punjab CM pic.twitter.com/rFojYU51or— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2021
I am in the Congress party, will consult with my supporters and decide the future course of action: Amarinder Singh after resigning as Punjab CM pic.twitter.com/8hkJ2llT1m— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2021
#WATCH | "...I told Congress President that I will be resigning today...Did they have an element of doubt that I couldn't run the govt...I feel humiliated...Whoever they have faith in, can make them (CM)," says Amarinder Singh after resigning as Punjab CM pic.twitter.com/4HeUl8JN7Z— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2021
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh submits resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit, at Raj Bhavan in Chandigarh. pic.twitter.com/qIlYcr71L7— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2021