What Amarinder Singh Wrote To Sonia Gandhi Before Quitting

Punjab Congress Crisis: In his letter Amarinder Singh defended his track record, claiming that he had fulfilled 89.2 percent of promises made in 2017 and that work on the rest was ongoing

What Amarinder Singh Wrote To Sonia Gandhi Before Quitting

Punjab Congress: Amarinder Singh resigned as Chief Minister of Punjab on Saturday (File)


Amarinder Singh declared himself "anguished at (the) political events of (the) last five months" in a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi yesterday, hours before he quit as Punjab Chief Minister, leaving the party racing to replace him and re-assert control ahead of next year's election.

In his letter Mr Singh - whose resignation followed a bitter and prolonged feud with rival Navjot Sidhu over a number of issues, including the farmers' protests, electricity tariffs and the 2015 sacrilege case and subsequent police action - defended his administration and track record.

He claimed his government had fulfilled 89.2 percent of promises made ahead of the 2017 election, and that work was in progress on the remaining commitments.

Among the points Mr Singh defended himself against was the sacrilege case, in which he has been accused by Navjot Sidhu of a delay in ensuring justice.

The case is related to the desecration of a religious text and subsequent police firing incidents at Punjab's Faridkot in 2015. Mr Sidhu has been critical of Mr Singh on this matter, particularly after the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in April, quashed a probe into the case.

Amarinder Singh said that despite legal hurdles and the CBI's refusal to return cases transferred by the previous BJP-Akali Dal government, his administration had charge sheeted 24 people, suspended 15 police personnel and arrested 10 civilians. "... criminal proceedings are currently underway, and I am sure justice will be done in due course," he said.

The now-former Chief Minister also referred to the power purchase agreements signed by the BJP-Akali Dal government, and which has triggered a massive political row in the state, leading (again) to a flurry of barbed attacks from Navjot Sidhu.

In July, Mr Singh said 17 of the 139 deals were enough for Punjab's electricity requirements; the rest were "inexplicably signed" and placed an unnecessary financial burden on the state.

In his letter to Mrs Gandhi, Mr Singh said his government had invested crores in electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure and released much more per annum for consumers and farmers' benefit. "For the first time, we supplied subsidised power to the industry..." he said.

Mr Singh also detailed his government's successes in dealing with farmers' loans, the drug smuggling problem in the state, concerns over the mining industry and controlling unemployment.

The 'Captain', as Amarinder Singh is sometimes referred to, also wrote that he hoped his resignation would not "damage hard-earned peace and development in the state... (and) efforts I have been focusing (on)... will continue... ensuring justice to one and all".

He further indicated that the party's understanding of recent political developments in the state were "not based on full understanding of national imperatives of Punjab and its key concerns".

"... the people of Punjab are looking to the Indian National Congress for its mature and effective public policies, which not only reflect upon good politics but also address the concerns of the common man that are specific to this border state," Mr Singh wrote.

Months of sniping and hostility between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu came to a head late Friday after a sudden meeting of Congress MLAs. Sources told NDTV around 50 of the party's 80 MLAs wrote to Sonia Gandhi and asked for Mr Singh to be replaced.

A furious Mr Singh then spoke to Mrs Gandhi and told her he had had enough.

"I was humiliated three times by Congress leadership in the past two months...they called MLAs to Delhi twice and convened CLP today (Saturday)... they do not have confidence in me... now up to them to appoint anyone they trust," he said.

The Captain told NDTV though he had resigned, "... for the sake of my country, I'll oppose his (Sidhu) name for Chief Minister. It's a matter of national security... is an incompetent man... a total disaster...".

The Singh-Sidhu feud dates back to the 2017 Assembly election, when Mr Sidhu hoped to be made Deputy Chief Minister but was reportedly denied the post by Mr Singh.