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'Stubborn' Amarinder Singh Believed He Does Not Need Advice From Anyone, Says Harish Rawat

Harish Rawat
Dehradun: A day after former Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh said he will be quitting Congress, senior party leader Harish Rawat who is in charge of the Punjab affairs said that born out of his "stubbornness", Captain was of the belief that he does not need any advice from anyone.
"Congress has always kept Captain Amarinder Singh and his family in high esteem. Even after suffering a crushing defeat from Patiala Constituency in 1998, he was inducted into the Congress Party and immediately appointed by Sonia Gandhi, as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on three occasions from 1999 to 2002, 2010 to 2013 and 2015 to 2017. Twice, the Congress Party made him the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and 2017 to 2021. As the Chief Minister, he was given a complete free hand," stated Rawat.
Despite continuous reminders from his colleagues and the leadership, the Punjab in charge of Congress said, "unfortunately, Captain Amarinder failed to keep his promises on important issues like Bargadi, drugs, electricity etc. There was a general perception throughout the state that Captain and the Badals are helping each other, and they have a secret understanding."
In a statement, Rawat said he was always "politely suggesting" Amarinder to initiate action on the party's election promises. "At least five times I discussed these issues with Captain sahib but with no result," he said.
"The whole Bargadi issue was mishandled by trusted lieutenants of Captain Amarinder Singh. In cabinet meetings there were heated discussion on this issue and later, many prominent ministers came to Delhi with a complaint that now with Captain Amarinder Singh at the helm of affairs, Congress can't win the elections," he added.
For finding a solution, Rawat informed that the Congress high command formed a three-member panel under the chairmanship of veteran congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
"This panel heard as many as more than 150 prominent leaders, including MLAs, MPs, Ex-MLAs, Ex-MPs, PCC President, Ex-PCC Presidents, Youth Congress, NSUI, Mahilla Congress, sewa dal leaders etc," he informed.
He said all sections of the Congress party were invited for their suggestions.
"After prolonged discussions, the Chief Minister agreed for implementing 18 points (which included Bargadi issue, drugs issue, power tariff etc.) which were suggested by the panel to the Congress President. In this meeting, over whelming majority of congress MLAs had very clearly expressed their dissatisfaction on the style of functioning by Captain Amrinder Singh administration and quite a good no of MLAs suggested for his immediate replacement," Rawat said.
Captain Amarinder Singh did not implement even one out of these eighteen points, said the Congress leader, adding that the panel called the former chief minister and had a discussion.
"A time bound implementation course was discussed and mutually agreed. But after going back to Chandigarh, again Captain Amarinder Singh forgot about his promises to the panel and to the Congress President," claimed the senior leader.
"Born out of his stubbornness, he was of the belief that he does not need any advice from anyone, including his own MLAs and Ministers and party leadership. However, again I went to Captain Amarinder Singh at his house and had a lengthy discussion with him along with his officials. We came down to five points which he promised to implement within next 10 days. After this, 20 days passed, and we didn't hear anything from him. The Congress MLAs and Ministers were getting restless," he added.
Rawat said as a result, in a written letter to the Party leadership, 43 MLAs told the party, that despite repeated efforts we could not get anything done by Captain Amarinder Singh, so please call a CLP meeting otherwise we are going to call a separate meeting.
"Then I tried to contact Amarinder Singh thrice, but I could not get him on telephone. Then through one of his well-wishers I sent him a message that there is a demand for CLP meeting, and we have no option but to call the CLP meeting," he said.
Despite getting the message, Rawat said Captain Amarinder Singh didn't bother to telephone him.
"Then I suggested to the party high command, that if we delay the matter then many MLAs may form a sperate group or may create some more problem for the party. It was then decided to call a CLP meeting. I then officially informed Captain Amarinder Singh that party has called a CLP meeting and requested him to attend the meeting," he stated.
In response, Rawat said the then Chief Minister called a separate meeting at his residence on the same day when the CLP meeting was called.
"Before that, the Congress President also spoke to Captain Amarinder Singh about the complaints signed by 43 MLAs and the CLP meeting. Captain Amarinder Singh himself offered to resign and when he resigned there was no other option than choosing a new CLP leader," he stated.
Rawat noted that before choosing a new CLP leader a unanimous resolution was passed by all MLAs, (78 were present out of total 80 Congress MLAs) praising Captain Amarinder Singh and thanking him for giving leadership to the state Congress as well as to the Congress legislative party as a chief minister.
"How does these sequence of events suggest that anybody intended to humiliate him? No humiliation was done to him," Rawat asserted.
In a democratic party, Rawat said all the democratic procedures were followed, and the party chose a Chief Minister who comes from a humble background.
"It was expected from Captain Amarinder Singh to bless him and for that purpose I tried thrice to meet him, even I used the services of some our common friends also for meeting him at his residence, but he denied meeting me. The newly appointed chief minister also asked for his blessing, and he said that he will call him for lunch or tea, but nothing has happened," said Rawat.
"The chief minister had many times tried to contact him. After meeting Hon'ble Amit Shah and BJP's contact man, the theory of humiliation is being circulated to gain the sympathy of the people. The humiliation-based sympathy politics may help a person, but it will not help Punjab. Captain Amarinder was controlling both the government and the party from his farmhouse (home). No one asks him a question regarding his absence from the secretariat, visits in the districts etc," he added.
For stability, Rawat stated Congress has a massive majority in the assembly and with Charanjit Singh Channi as the Chief Minister. "The Congress Government is strong in its resolve and capable of fulfilling hopes and aspirations of the people of Punjab. We assure the people of Punjab that Governance has started to change for the better, and the best will be seen in the coming few weeks," he added.  —ANI