Senior Congress leader AmarinderSingh on Friday condemned the issue of disciplinary notices to two party MLAs for seeking resignation of state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa, terming the action as "desperate" attempts to "silence the popular sentiment" in the party.
Supporting the demand of the MLAs, the former Chief Minister also sought Bajwa's resignation.
Punjab Congress' Disciplinary Action Committee yesterday issued notices to Guru Har Sahai MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi and Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon Sodhi for leading a group of legislators and leaders and openly seeking Bajwa's resignation following the party's dismal performance in Lok Sabha polls.
24 Congress MLAs and other party leaders had released a statement to the media, asking Bajwa to own up responsibility for the party's poll debacle in Punjab and resign.
Amarinder said these were "desperate" attempts by the Punjab Congress Committee leadership to "silence the popular sentiment" in the party. He said instead of listening to the popular sentiment and going for introspection, the PCC was trying to act in an "autocratic and dictatorial" manner.
Amarinder, who defeated BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, said Congress was a democratic party where everybody was given the right to voice his sentiment.
Attacking the chairman of Punjab Congress's Disciplinary Action Committee Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Amarinder said, "In which world the so called chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee was living?"
"Instead of applying his mind, he appears to be taking diktats from those to whom he owes his position", he said, adding "these legislators, besides 22 others, and other leaders have only voiced the popular sentiment of the party for which they cannot be blamed for indiscipline."
Amarinder, a Congress Working Committee member, said it is the convention in Congress that the person who leads the party to defeat tenders his resignation and it is up to the party high command to accept it or not.
Amarinder pointed out that he had tendered resignation in 2012. Similarly, Ashok Ghelot in Rajasthan and Tarun Gogoi in Assam resigned owning moral responsibility, he said.
"Why is Mr Bajwa sticking to his chair and when he is reminded about Congress, he takes refuge behind the Disciplinary Action Committee", he remarked.
He said when 24 elected legislators with multiple stints, senior PCC office bearers, some of whom are senior to Bajwa, district presidents and common workers are voicing some demand, the party cannot run away from it.
"We must stop shutting our eyes on the popular sentiment within the rank and file of the party and take corrective measures immediately lest it be too late", he said.