New Delhi: Loyalty can no longer charm his ways and thus 79-year-old Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was shown the doors.
Bringing an end to all speculation and months of the battle of nerves between him and Novjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Chief Minister and a Congress veteran Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday tendered his resignation to Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
"I felt humiliated …I spoke to the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) this morning and said I will be resigning today… This is the third time in recent months a meeting of MLAs has been called. It speaks volumes and that is why I decided to quit," Singh told reporters outside Raj Bhawan.
His son Raninder Singh also tweeted in the afternoon saying, ‘I am proud to accompany my father to Raj Bhawan when he submits his resignation as Chief Minister of Punjab".
AICC general secretary Harish Rawat had announced that Congress legislators would meet in the evening to discuss various issues including the CLP leadership.
The Captain rushed to Raj Bhawan after 1600 hours and later quit around 1630 hours.
Personally, of course he enjoys good rapport with Akali Dal leaders as well, specially Sukhbir Singh Badal notwithstanding political differences.
Lately, Capt Amarinder had met top BJP leaders including PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah also.
The 79-year-old former army officer said though he is still in Congress, the future course of action will be decided after consultation with his supporters and workers.
"I have been in politics for the last 52 years and they are with me. So I will take any decision only after consulting them," he said adding, "…Future course of action, I have an option".
Suspended Congress leader Sanjay Jha says the Congress high command has 'mishandled' the political challenge in Punjab thrown at the party's door steps due to differences between the outgoing Chief Minister Capt Amarinder and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Certainly Punjab has been a strong base for the Congress where it has enjoyed power for many years under different Chief Ministers. Its main rival in the state has been Akali Dal and its patriarch Parkash Singh Badal.
The BJP has always played second fiddle to the Akali Dal but these two parties parted ways last year over the issue of three contentious farm laws.
The AAP has also made forays in the state picking up a few parliamentary seats, but it also could not do much in assembly polls.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, out of 13 parliamentary constituencies, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party won 4 seats each, Congress won 3, and 2 constituencies elected BJP MPs. The AAP had won from 34 of the total 117 assembly segments in 2017 assembly polls.
In the 2019 general elections, Congress had won 8, Akali Dal 2, BJP 2 and only one seat went to the Aam Aadmi Party.
Notably, in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Captain Amarinder had humbled senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley by a huge margin from Amritsar.
Elections are due in Punjab along with four other states by Feb-March 2022. The Congress leadership specially Rahul Gandhi has decided to bank on Sidhu, a turncoat from BJP, In the poll-bound state.
Sidhu has been in direct and fierce competition with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for quite some time now.
Recently, Sidhu had cautioned high command and general secretary Rawat saying, “Mine is a politics of hope and faith. If I am able to meet the expectations of people, I will ensure the Congress retains power in Punjab for the next 20 years. But if you do not let me make decisions, I will give a befitting reply (Eet naal Eet)".
"There is no point in being a dummy president.” Sidhu has said.
Captain Amarinder had enjoyed good working rapport with Sonia Gandhi and also her late husband, former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The outgoing Chief Minister has always referred to Sonia as 'Mrs Gandhi'.
In2017, Capt had developed differences with party colleague Partap Singh Bajwa.
Amarinder was also accused of not being capable as the party had lost two electoral battles in a row in 007 and 2012, under Captain's stewardship.
Lately while the Congress has flayed the central government's vaccination programmes against Covid19, Punjab Chief Capt Amarinder has hailed the works done by the central government.