Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is set to quit after months of fighting pressure from the Congress. This morning, he reportedly told Sonia Gandhi he had put up with enough and "can't continue in the party with this kind of humiliation".
Stung by the party's move to call an emergency meeting of MLAs, presaging a leadership change, Amarinder Singh reportedly told the Congress president, "This kind of humiliation is enough, this is happening for the third time. I can't continue to stay in the party with this kind of humiliation."
The Congress, in a late night tweet, announced the meeting citing "a representation from a large number of MLAs". Sources say the party had been under increasing pressure from its Punjab legislators to replace Amarinder Singh but he was not ready to resign.
Months after a tenuous detente was brokered between Amarinder Singh and his in-house rival Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab is going the way of Gujarat, where the BJP this week revamped the entire cabinet. Both states will vote next year.
The "Captain" had called his own meeting of MLAs to rally loyalists but only 15 of 80 MLAs reportedly attended it.
There had been several scares for Amarinder Singh over the past few months, with a sizeable section of MLAs revolting against him and keeping up pressure on the party.
Today's unscheduled meeting reportedly stunned the Captain, who last week cooked a spectacular feast for the Olympics medal winners.
The names of three leaders are in circulation, say sources, as possible replacements for him - Sunil Jakhar, former Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa and Beant Singh's grandson and MP Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Sunil Jakhar posted a triumphant tweet: "Kudos to Rahul Gandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis."
Kudos to Sh @RahulGandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 18, 2021
In July, despite the Chief Minister's fierce resistance, the party appointed Navjot Sidhu its Punjab chief, but the acrimony stayed barely below the surface.
Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators raised fresh complaints against Amarinder Singh, telling the leadership that they had no faith in his ability to honour poll promises.
On September 8, Mr Rawat, speaking to news agency ANI, said that the people assume party leaders in Punjab are fighting because the ''brave'' leaders put forward their opinion strongly.
When asked about ties between Amarinder Singh and Mr Sidhu, Mr Rawat said, "If there would be a dispute, it would be good for the Congress."
The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year.