Chandigarh: The daggers have finally been drawn.
Hurt at his unceremonious ouster, Amarinder Singh on Wednesday declared to “make any sacrifice” to stop state Congress chief Navjot Sidhu from becoming chief minister.
In a Punjabi press communiqué released late in the evening, Amarinder hinted at floating a new party by stating that he would field “his” strong candidate against Sidhu in the Punjab assembly polls slated to be held early next year. He reiterated that Sidhu was a “threat to the country” and would be opposed “tooth and nail”.
Stating that he was ready to leave politics after taking the Congress party to victory, Amarinder revealed he had tendered his resignation to party chief Sonia Gandhi three weeks earlier. “If Sonia Gandhi had called me and asked me to resign, I would have resigned immediately," he said.
Amarinder said he had even told Sonia Gandhi he was ready to appoint another person as the chief minister but after leading the Congress to victory. “But nothing like that happened, so I will fight on.” Asserting that he will only leave politics on a high, the former Chief Minister said, “I was ready to leave after victory, but never after a loss."
The former chief minister termed it “insulting” for the Congress high command to call a party legislature meeting without being informed and said he was never clever in a dishonest way.
Stating that Priyanka and Rahul were like his children, he said they were inexperienced and were being “misled”.
Indicating that he was still keeping his political options open, Amarinder he was in touch with close aides before deciding his future strategy. “You can be old at 40 and young at 80,” he added.
On allegations of incompetence, Amarinder said he had been elected to the assembly seven times and to Parliament twice. “There must be something right with me,” he remarked,
Citing complaints that he was not taking action against politicians in cases of narcotics, the former chief minister said he believed in the rule of law.
Mocking the way Punjab was being handled from Delhi now, Amarinder expressed surprise at the way things were being run in the party after his removal. “Channi looks like Sidhu’s puppet…If things are not controlled, the Congress will not win more than nine seats,” he added.
Amarinder said Channi was wise and educated but lacked experience in home affairs which was of utmost importance as Punjab was a border state and the situation was getting worse. “Weapons and drugs coming to Punjab from Pakistan are a danger to us,” Amarinder warned.