NEW DELHI: Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (79) on Thursday set at rest the speculation raging since Wednesday evening after his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, asserting that he is not joining the BJP, but he is definitely quitting the Congress.
He dropped hints of his plans in an interview to NDTV new channel on Thursday. "So far, I am in the Congress, but I will not remain in the Congress. I have already made my position very clear. I will not be treated in this manner."
He was, however, non-committal when asked if he was floating his own party, saying "people will come to know what happens in future." He said one has to think of the pros and cons before taking a decision.
This was for the first time that the Captain made it clear that he is quitting the Congress. Pulling no punches, the Captain also predicted the Congress's downfall in Punjab and called Navjot Singh Sidhu a "childish man."
Undeterred by his declaration that he was quitting the Congress, Sonia Gandhi asked former union ministers and her close aides Ambika Soni and Kamal Nath and former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda to talk him out of ditching the party. All three have a good rapport with Amarinder Singh.
"I have been in politics for 52 years. I have my own beliefs, my own principles. See, the way I have been treated. At 10.30 am the Congress President says you resign. I didn't ask any questions. I said I will do it just now. At 4 pm I went to the Governor and resigned. If you doubt me after 50 years, my credibility is at stake. If there is no trust, what is the point of me staying in the party?"
Before quitting on September 18, Amarinder Singh had told Sonia Gandhi that he had been humiliated thrice by the party. The high command twice called the Congress MLAs to Delhi minus him and then convened their meeting in Chandigarh on September 18, without even informing him. I have not resigned from the Congress yet, but how can one continue in a place where there is a trust deficit? When there is no trust, one cannot continue...I am not a person who takes split-second decisions.
"Sidhu is an immature person. I have said repeatedly that he is not a stable man. He is not a team player. He is a loner. How will he handle the Punjab Congress as its chief? For that you need to be a team player, which Sidhu is not," he added.
On Wednesday night, he had tweeted: "Met Union Home Minister @AmitShah in Delhi. Discussed the prolonged farmers' agitation against #FarmLaws & urged him to resolve the crisis urgently with repeal of the laws & guaranteed MSP, besides supporting Punjab in crop diversification."
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