Chandigarh: Citing continued humiliation at the hands of the Congress leadership over the past two months, Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as the Punjab chief minister Saturday, four-and-a-half years after he led the party to a stunning victory in the state.
Amarinder submitted his and his council of ministers’ resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit in the evening. The resignation comes in the wake of the Congress high command calling a meeting of the party’s Punjab MLAs at 5 pm today.
The 79-year-old leader was Congress party’s most celebrated chief minister in the country but was literally forced to resign this morning by the party high command, after months of internal strife leading to a vertical split in the Punjab unit, with one camp of ministers and MLAs backing Amarinder and the other, party president Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Addressing a press conference following his resignation, Amarinder said he felt “humiliated,” and though “at the moment” he remained with the party he had his “options open” for his political future.
“I was humiliated three times by the Congress leadership in the past two months… They called the MLAs to Delhi twice and now convened CLP here in Chandigarh today,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that he had decided and informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the morning that he would resign.
He said he would decide his future political course of action in consultation with his supporters who have stood by him for over five decades.
“Apparently they (Congress high command) do not have confidence in me and did not think I could handle my job. But I felt humiliated at the manner in which they handled the whole affair,” he told media persons at the gate of the Raj Bhawan.
“Let them appoint who they trust,” he remarked, taking a dig at the party leadership.
Accompanied by wife, son
Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur, a Congress MP, accompanied him to the Governor house. His son Raninder Singh was also present, along with MPs Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Ravneet Singh Bittu, advocate general Atul Nanda and Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar.
Earlier in the day, Amarinder had convened a meeting of ministers and MLAs supporting him for a meeting at his official residence here at 2 pm. However, apart from a handful of his close allies in the cabinet and among MLAs, not many attended the meeting.
Amarinder had led the Congress to a stunning victory in the 2017 assembly polls, following 10 years of Akali rule in the state. The Congress had mustered a brute majority of 80 MLAs in the 117-member assembly.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)