Amarinder Singh on Monday held the Gandhis totally responsible for the rout of the Congress in the assembly polls, claiming that the party was “comfortably placed” in Punjab before he was unseated as Chief Minister.
In a statement a day after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) took stock of the drubbing received by the party in five states, Mr Singh took digs at the “pompous” state Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and the “corrupt” Charanjit Singh Channi, who replaced him as Chief Minister.
After his ouster as Chief Minister last year, Amarinder Singh left the Congress and floated his own Punjab Lok Congress.
He slammed the CWC for trying to put the blame for the Congress defeat in Punjab on him instead of “gracefully admitting” their “own blunders”.
“The Congress has not only lost in Punjab but also in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and the Gandhis are entirely to blame for the party’s shameful defeat,” he said.
People across the country had lost faith in the leadership of the Gandhis,” he said, referring to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
On Monday, former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar also questioned the appointment of Mr Channi as the Punjab Chief Minister ahead of the polls, mocking a senior party leader for reportedly describing him as an “asset”.
In the just-ended assembly polls, the Congress got just 18 seats, and the Aam Aadmi Party romped home with 92 in a House of 117.
Amarinder Singh claimed several senior leaders within the party were blaming the infighting in Punjab Congress and the “anti-party” statements of Navjot Sidhu for its bad performance in the state.
“The party had dug its own grave in the border state the day they decided to back an unstable and pompous person like Navjot Sidhu, and naming a corrupt man like Charanjit Singh Channi as chief minister just months before the polls,” he said in a statement here.
The CWC leaders who were claiming that there was strong “anti-incumbency” against his government had conveniently forgotten that he had won every election for the party since 2017, including the civic bodies polls in February 2021, just seven months before his unceremonious removal, Mr Singh said.
“These leaders are just sycophants who are trying to shield the family by shifting blame and closing their eyes to the writing on the wall,” he said.
He claimed the Congress had no future under the present set-up.
Mr Singh said the real reason for the defeat in Punjab was the party high command first favouring and then failing to rein in people like Navjot Sidhu, “who indulged in tarnishing the image of the party for their own personal gains”.
“In their efforts to discredit me, the party high command joined hands with Navjot and others, and in the process ended up discrediting the party totally.” Mr Singh said though he did not owe any explanation to the CWC or the Congress, he had chosen to react to the comments of these leaders just to clarify his position to the people of Punjab, to whom he still felt accountable.
Amarinder Singh was made to resign as the CM last September following a bitter feud between him and Navjot Sidhu.
In the 2022 polls, Mr Singh’s new party failed to win any seat.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)