The mud-slinging by warring factions in Punjab over the party’s stunning defeat in the assembly elections has reached the courts of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Leaders owing allegiance to Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh and his rival camp have been at each others’ throats since the victory of the Akali Dal-BJP combine.
Amarinder’s detractors have blamed him for the defeat and demanded his scalp. Newly-elected MLAs Jeet Mohinder Sidhu, once considered close to Amarinder, Randeep Nabha and Navtej Cheema besides Mahila Congress president Malti Thappar, former state president Varinder Kataria and several ex-legislators have urged Gandhi to immediately remove Amarinder from the post.
Union minister Ashwani Kumar had last week said there was a dire need to bring in a new face, who understands the pulse of the people in Punjab, to lead the party in the state.
But Amarinder’s supporters have defended him. “It is wrong to single out and blame one particular leader for the electoral outcome as it was the collective responsibility of all,” said a joint statement by leaders, including Lal Singh, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Kewal Dhillon, Rana Gurjit Singh and others.
The central leadership has failed to contain the dissidence. A warning by party in-charge of Punjab Gulchain Singh Charak to warring leaders not to wash their dirty linen in public seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as the slugfest continued.
Charak had failed to persuade the rebels to withdraw from the contest, a move that cost the party dear in the elections.
“Charak has failed to stem the revolt. At a time when Congress leaders should have focused on revitalising the party after a crushing blow, they are trapped in war much to the delight of the ruling alliance,” a senior party functionary said.