Sidhu a ‘drama master’, Congress will struggle to touch double digits in next Punjab polls: Amarinder
Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: Terming Navjot Sidhu the “super CM” of Punjab, former CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said he would fight the former’s elevation tooth and nail.
Amarinder Singh said he would make any sacrifice to save the country from such a dangerous man. He said he would pit a strong candidate against the PPCC president in the 2022 Assembly polls to ensure his defeat. “He (Sidhu) is dangerous for the state,” he said.
Sidhu, who could not handle his own ministry, is now managing the cabinet. “If Sidhu behaves as the super CM, the party won’t function,” he said, adding that under this “drama master’s leadership”, it would be a big thing if the Congress managed to touch double digits in Punjab polls.
Asserting that he will only leave politics on a high, Amarinder said, “I was ready to leave after victory but never after a loss. He said he had offered his resignation to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi three weeks earlier but she had asked him to continue. “Had she just called me to step down, I would have,” he said, adding that “as a soldier, I know how to do my task.
Amarinder said he had even told Sonia Gandhi that he was ready to hang his boots and allow someone else to take over as CM after leading the Congress to another sweeping win in Punjab. “But that did not happen, so I will fight,” he asserted.
The former CM took strong exception to call the CLP meeting without taking him into confidence. “I would not have taken the MLAs on a flight to Goa or some other place. That is not how I operate. I don’t do gimmicks, and the Gandhi siblings know that is not my way,” he said, adding, “Priyanka and Rahul (Gandhi siblings) are like my children… this should not have ended like this. I am hurt.”
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Amarinder said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi were quite inexperienced and their advisors were clearly misguiding them.
Indicating that he was still keeping his political options open, Amarinder said he would talk to his friends before deciding on his future course of action. “You can be old at 40 and young at 80,” he quipped, making it clear that he did not see his age as a hurdle.
On allegations of inaccessibility, Amarinder said he had been elected to the Assembly seven times and twice to the Parliament. “There must be something right with me,” he remarked, adding that the Congress leadership had evidently decided on making the change (in Punjab) and were trying to make up a case.
Referring to complaints that he did not take action against the Badals and Majithia in the sacrilege and drugs cases, the former CM said he believed in allowing the law to take its course. “But now these people, who were complaining against me are in power, let them throw the Akali leaders behind bars if they can!” he retorted. Taking a jibe against Sidhu & Co. over allegations of not taking action against ministers involved in the mining mafia, he quipped, “Those very ministers are now with these leaders!”
Ridiculing the way Punjab was being run from Delhi now, Amarinder said as the CM, he had called the shots and appointed his own ministers, as he knew the capability of each of them. How can Congress leaders such as KC Venugopal or Ajay Maken or Randeep Surjewala decide who is good for which ministry, he questioned? “Our religions teach us that all are equal. I don’t look at people based on their caste, it’s about their efficiency,” he said, in an obvious reference to the caste considerations that had dictated the choice of the new leadership in the state.
Taking a dig at Sidhu’s interference in Charanjit Singh Channi’s domain, the ex-CM said the PPCC should just decide on party affairs. “I had a very good PPCC president. I took his advice but he never told me how to run the government,” he added, contrasting it with the way Sidhu was virtually dictating the terms, with Channi simply nodding along.