Taking strong exception to Harish Rawat’s no-holds barred attack on him, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday rejected the Congress Punjab in-charge’s claims and allegations, which he said were clearly prompted by the pathetic situation the party now found itself in the state after being on a winning spree for four and a half years.
“Three weeks before stepping down as CM, I had offered my resignation to Sonia Gandhi but she had asked me to continue,” said Amarinder Singh, adding the humiliating manner in which he was pushed into resigning just hours before the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting, that was clearly convened to oust him, was a matter of public record.
“The world saw the humiliation and the insult heaped on me, and yet Rawat is making claims to the contrary,” he remarked.
The ex-CM of Punjab recalled that Rawat himself had publicly stated after meeting him that he was satisfied by his government’s track record on the 2017 poll promises.
In fact, Rawat had categorically stated, as recently as September 1, that the 2022 elections would be fought under his (Amarinder’s) leadership and the high command had no intention of replacing him, he pointed out.
“So how can he now claim that the party leadership was dissatisfied with me, and if they were, then why did he deliberately keep me in the dark all this time?” he asked.
Ridiculing Rawat’s remarks that he seemed to be under pressure, the former CM said the only pressure he had been under for the past few months was that of his own loyalty to the Congress, because of which he continued to tolerate insult after insult.
“If the party did not intend to humiliate me then why was Navjot Singh Sidhu allowed to openly criticise and attack me on social media and other public platforms for months? Why did the party give the rebels, led by Sidhu, a free hand in undermining my authority? Why was no cognizance given to the uninterrupted spree of electoral wins I handed over to the party through the four and a half years I was in the saddle?” he asked.
Amarinder Singh asked why the Congress was allowing Sidhu even now to hold the party to ransom and continue to dictate terms.
“What is the pressure he exerts on the party leadership that they are so defenceless against him and are allowing him to have his way even at the cost of the Congress’ future in Punjab?” he asked.
Reacting to Rawat’s comment regarding his secular credentials, Amarinder Singh said even his worst critics and enemies could not doubt his integrity in this regard.
“But I am no longer surprised that a senior and seasoned Congress leader like Rawat is questioning my secular credentials. It is quite evident that I am no longer trusted and respected in the party that I have served loyally all these years,” he added.