As the Congress is grappling over what - or who - was responsible for the party's shocking defeat in Punjab assembly elections, Union minister of state Ashwani Kumar on Tuesday gave further boost to the 'oust Amarinder' chorus, maintaining that a young face with clean image should be made the state party president.
Kumar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab who holds the portfolio of planning and parliamentary affairs, indirectly engaged Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, holding him responsible for "flawed distribution of tickets" and the rebel factor which he said squarely dented Congress prospects in the elections. Otherwise, he said, there was no reason for the party to suffer this stunning defeat.
"I am shocked at the extent of defeat…My personal view is that the need of the hour is to have younger and clean leader as Punjab Congress president who can unite all Congressmen," he said while talking to reporters at UT Guest House here.
Kumar's statement for a 'young face with clean image' as Punjab Congress chief is significant in the backdrop of rising dissidence in Punjab unit of the party which compelled Sonia Gandhi to set up a three member high-powered panel under the chairmanship of Union defence minister AK Antony to pinpoint the reasons for the party's defeat in the assembly elections.
In what will be a morale booster to Amarinder baiters across the state, the Union minister said that in his "personal view", a suitable decision on the question of party leadership in Punjab will be taken after the Antony committee submitted its report soon.
"In my personal view," he further said, "we need to groom new line of leadership to inject a whiff of fresh air in the politics of the state and to inspire younger voters with a vision, which will give them hope of a better future."