In a stern warning to the rebel candidates who failed to withdraw their nominations in time, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Sunday asked them to retire from the race by Tuesday evening or face permanent expulsion from the party.
Urging the rebels to opt out in favour of the Congress nominees and put up a united front to defeat the “anti-people” SAD and AAP, Amarinder said the interests of Punjab and its people were supreme and could not be allowed to be compromised for personal gains.
Hitting out at the rebels who refused to heed the party leadership’s request for withdrawal of nomination, despite the promise that they would be accommodated once the Congress forms government in the state, he said it amounted to violation of the party’s disciplinary ethics, which could not be permitted at any cost.
Amarinder, however, said the presence of rebel candidates in the fray would not have a serious impact on the poll prospects of the Punjab Congress.
The party, he asserted, had selected winnable candidates to contest the Assembly elections and they would help the Congress sweep the polls with two-thirds majority to ensure restoration of Punjab’s “lost glory”.
Adamant on his tough stance against the rebel candidates, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president said he had asked party national president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to show no laxity in dealing with the dissidents.
He has urged the Congress high command to expel such rebels for life and close all doors for their re-entry, giving them a last chance to toe the party line by announcing their retirement by Tuesday evening.
He also thanked those who had heeded the party leadership’s request to withdraw their papers before the last day of filing nominations, saying it was now the party’s responsibility to take care of their interests.
He said he would personally ensure that they are not let down on this count and are accommodated in key positions to take the Congress agenda of governance and development forward after the formation of its government in the state.