CHANDIGARH: Days after stepping down as Punjab chief minister, Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday took his first public swipe at the Gandhi siblings leading the party, Rahul and Priyanka, for forcing his hand, saying they were quite inexperienced, adding they were misguided.
He also announced his decision to field a strong candidate against new Punjab Congress unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu — who led the rebellion against him — to ensure his defeat in the forthcoming Assembly elections. “He is dangerous for the state,” he said as he lit into Sidhu. By saying so, he appeared to be baiting the party to expel him.
Amarinder also said he would continue fighting against Sidhu’s elevation or making him the chief ministerial face tooth and nail. He questioned the judgement of the Gandhi siblings’ advisors, K C Venugopal, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala, who helped constitute the new ministry led by Charanjit Singh Channi, and termed Sidhu as the super chief minister.
Asserting that he will only leave politics on a high, Amarinder said, “I was ready to leave after victory but never after a loss. He disclosed that he had offered his resignation to party president Sonia Gandhi three weeks ago but she had asked him to continue. “If she had just called me and asked me to step down, I would have,” he said, adding, “as a soldier, I know how to do my task and leave once I am called back.”
He bitterly criticised the Congress Legislative Party meeting called in a secretive manner to unseat him. “I would not have taken MLAs on a flight to Goa or some place... the Gandhi siblings know that is not my way,” he said, adding, “Priyanka and Rahul (Gandhi siblings) are like my children. This should not have ended like this. I am hurt.”
Options open on future trajectory
Indicating he was keeping his political options open, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was talking to his friends before deciding on his future course of action. “You can be old at 40 and young at 80,” he quipped, making it clear that he did not see his age as a hurdle, going forward