Hitting out at ‘dissenters’, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said leaders airing their grievances in public about the functioning of the Congress were free to leave the party.
“If you’re a Congressman you can go to the party president or the Congress Working Committee with any problem you may have with the party functioning. But you should not go out to air your grievances. If you want to do that, you can leave the party,” Singh said amid discontentment in the party over successive electoral losses.
Senior leaders Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, among others, have expressed concern over the Congress’ performance in the Bihar assembly elections and hit out at lack of introspection within the party to revive the moribund organisation.
The Punjab Chief Minister rejected charges of lack of inner-party democracy in the Congress and pointed out that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had not penalised anyone who had raised a voice of dissent but had, in fact, made then members of various committees, in the true spirit of democracy, to bring in reforms.
Singh also rejected suggestions for change in party leadership in the light of the Bihar election results.
“Sonia Gandhi will remain the leader as long as she wants, after which the new leader will be elected. There is no need for change at this juncture,” the veteran leader said, adding that one should not read too much in the Bihar poll verdict.
He said victory and defeat were part of the process of an actual democracy and expressed confidence that Congress could come back into power in 2024.