Rahul, Priyanka inexperienced; will field candidate against Sidhu in Assembly polls: Amarinder

In a series of interviews, he said, 'Priyanka and Rahul are like my children. This should not have ended like this. I am hurt.'
Last Updated 22 September 2021, 16:41 IST

Days after his exit, an upset former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday called the Gandhi siblings “inexperienced" and vowed to field a strong candidate against Navjot Singh Sidhu in the upcoming Assembly polls.

It was his first direct comment on Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, who are widely believed to have steered a change of leadership in the state.

Singh, whose remarks in a series of interviews were tweeted by his media advisor, called Sidhu a “dangerous” man whose elevation as Chief Minister he will fight tooth and nail.

Singh, who had to step down from the role of chief minister after facing a relentless campaign by Sidhu and his loyalists, ensured that the PCC chief is not made CM in his place, which resulted in a Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Channi helming the top post.

Now Singh is up to ensure that Sidhu does not get the coveted post even after the Assembly polls. Singh’s flurry of remarks came after Sidhu shared a photo of him accompanying the chief minister and the two newly-appointed deputy chief ministers in a chartered flight to Delhi to meet the Congress top brass to discuss the cabinet formation.

“If Sidhu behaves as super CM, Punjab Congress won’t function. Under this drama master’s leadership, it would be a big thing if Congress manages to touch double digits in Punjab polls,” Singh said.

"I was attacked for not taking action against ministers allegedly involved in the mining mafia. Those very ministers are now in the new Punjab Congress and Punjab government leadership. They complained against me for not taking arbitrary action against Badals and Majithia and going by rule of law. Now they are in power, let them throw the Akali Dal leaders behind the bars if they can,” the former chief minister dared the new state dispensation.

He also raised questions about how AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala decide who is right for which ministry.

“When I was CM, I called the shots and appointed my own ministers based not on their caste but their effectiveness,” he recalled, suggesting that the new chief minister has given away the power of making decisions on state cabinet to Delhi.

While maintaining that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are like “my children,” Singh categorically said, “Fact is the Gandhi siblings are inexperienced & their advisors are clearly misguiding them.”

He said he was “hurt” and this should not have ended like this. "I'm hurt. I was prepared to leave politics after a victory but never after a loss. I offered my resignation to Sonia Gandhi three weeks back but she asked me to continue. Had she called me and told me to step down, I would have done so,” Singh said.

Making it clear that Congress’ power tussle in Punjab won't end any time soon, he said he is ready to make any kind of sacrifice to stop Sidhu from becoming the Punjab CM.

“Will pit a strong person against him to ensure his defeat in the 2022 Assembly polls. If Navjot Singh Sidhu is going to be the CM face, then it will be a big thing if Punjab Congress even touches double digits,” he said.

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(Published 22 September 2021, 14:30 IST)

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