Punjab Congress MLAs and other leaders on Tuesday told the ruling Akalis that it was chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, not Capt Amarinder Singh, who had 'Bikram Majithia phobia' and was scared of the latter's chief ministerial ambitions.
Referring to a recent statement issued by the state directorate of public relations and attributed to some Akali leaders, including a minister, several Congress leaders and MLAs pointed out that Badal had himself admitted it publicly that Majithia had got everything on a platter and was now eyeing his (Badal's) chair.
"By Badal's own admission, Majithia is after his chair and that makes it more than clear who is scared of whom," the Congress leaders said in a joint statement here on Tuesday.
The signatories to the statement included MLAs Rana Gurjit Singh, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Kewal Dhillon, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Arvind Khanna, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Surinder Dawer, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Joginder Singh Panjgraian, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Bibi Harchand Kaur, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Om Prakash Soni and Mohammad Sadique. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) vice-president Rana KP Singh and general secretary Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa also joined the MLAs.
They said the Akalis should feel grateful to Amarinder that he was voicing their concerns and sounding out Badal and everyone else about Majithia's designs and ambitions with an eye on the Shiromani Akali Dal and the CM's post.
"Amarinder knows your compulsions that despite feeling suffocated and bullied by Majithia, you cannot raise your concerns for fear of losing your jobs, so he is helping your cause and you should be grateful to him," they told the Akalis.
They also ridiculed the Akalis' claims that the Congress played Majithia's controversial CD to pull crowds. "There is nothing to feel proud about what Majithia has spoken. You should rather feel ashamed of it," the Congress leaders told Akalis.
The leaders said no matter how much the Akalis tried to defend Majithia whether of their own or perforce, it would be difficult for him to get rid of the image he had acquired.
"It will take ages for Majithia to retrieve his image as he has been identified with everything that is happening wrong in Punjab today," they said, adding that his expletives in the assembly were too fresh in the memory of the people to be forgotten. Even if the recording of what Majithia spoke in the assembly is not replayed, it would keep haunting all Akalis as well as Majithia, they added.