Amarinder opposes notice to senior Congress leaders
The Congress' not-so-good showing in the recent parliamentary elections in Punjab notwithstanding, the infighting among its top leaders in the state persists. Former chief minister Amarinder Singh Friday objected to notices being served on two senior party legislators for seeking removal of state party chief Pratap Singh Bajwa.
Amarinder Singh, a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) who recently caused a political upset by defeating senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha election for the Amritsar seat, said the disciplinary notices served on Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and Kewal Dhillon were ill-timed.
Warning against "attempts to gag the popular sentiment in the party", he said that Sodhi and Dhillon were vice presidents of the state Congress.
Both leaders had sought the resignation of Bajwa for failing to lead the party properly in the recent Lok Sabha polls, due to which the Congress came down to three seats from eight earlier. As many as 22 senior Congress leaders, led by these two, have sought Bajwa's removal.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won four Lok Sabha seats in the state as the Congress failed to cash in on the anti-Akali Dal sentiment among voters.
Amarinder Singh remarked: "These are desperate attempts by the state Congress leadership to silence the popular sentiment within the party. Instead of listening to the popular sentiment and going for introspection, the state Congress leadership is trying to act in an autocratic and dictatorial manner."
Bajwa himself lost to BJP candidate and actor Vinod Khanna from the Gurdaspur constituency by nearly 1.4 lakh votes.
Amarinder Singh said he had quit as the state Congress president when the party lost in the 2012 assembly polls.
Supporting the demand of Sodhi, Dhillon and other leaders, he said it was a convention in the Congress that the person who led the party to defeat tendered his resignation. "It is up to the party high command whether to accept it or not," he said.
He pointed out that Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Tarun Gogoi in Assam resigned, owning moral responsibility in recent polls.
"Why is Mr Bajwa sticking to his chair and when he is reminded about the Congress convention, he takes refuge behind the Disciplinary Action Committee," he said.
(Posted on 23-05-2014)