Who will succeed Amarinder Singh? Cong resolution at CLP meeting authorises Sonia Gandhi
Hours after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister of Punjab, the Congress passed a resolution at the legislature party meeting authorising party chief Sonia Gandhi to choose as successor. The CLP meeting was called by the party high command and held at Punjab Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh.
Watch: Amarinder quits as Punjab CM as Gandhis favour Sidhu
Harish Rawat, the in-charge of Congress affairs in Punjab, said that all the MLAs passed the one-line resolution requesting Gandhi to decide name for next chief minister. The resolution was moved by Brahm Mohindra and seconded by the party's Dalit MLA from Amritsar, Raj Kumar Verka.
Rawat said that the resolution has been sent through email to Sonia Gandhi. He, along with fellow party leader Ajay Maken, reached Chandigarh from Delhi on Saturday morning for the CLP meeting convened at the insistence of a group of party leaders close to Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was recently appointed the chief of Congress' Punjab unit.
Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are the frontrunners in race to replace Amarinder Singh.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Ajay Maken said he hopes Amarinder Singh will continue to guide the Punjab Congress being the seniormost leader of the party. As observer, he moved a resolution praising the leadership of Amarinder Singh. Party MLA Tript Bajwa seconded it.
Seventy eight of Congress' 80 MLAs attended the CLP meet. Four rebels of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who had recently joined the Congress, were also present in the Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh but did not attend the CLP meeting.
Amarinder Singh was the only MLA to skip the meeting. He met governor Banwarilal Purohit hours before the CLP meeting and submitted his resignation amid a political tussle with Sidhu. Later, addressing a press conference at the gate of Raj Bhavan, Singh said that he "felt humiliated" that his leadership was questioned and had informed Sonia Gandhi about his decision. The 79-year-old later told news agency ANI that Sonia Gandhi told him ‘I am sorry Amarinder’.
On being humiliated, Singh was referring to being summoned thrice by the central leadership in the past two months.
Within minutes of Singh's resignation, his chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar and political secretary Captain Sandeep Sandhu also resigned from their respective posts. While Kumar, a retired IAS of 1983-batch, was considered final word of Amarinder on official matters, Sandhu used to look political affairs and was the bridge between the government and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
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Amarinder Singh is credited with putting the Congress party back in the saddle in Punjab after an intensely fought poll battle in 2017 that decimated the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and stymied AAP's hopes.