Terming former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's statement on aligning Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as "shocking", Congress General Secretary and party's Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat said that the former Chief Minister has killed the "secular Amarinder" within him.
Mr Rawat after meeting with party leader Rahul Gandhi said that Amarinder Singh was a symbol of "Sarvdharm Sambhav" and was connected to Congress' traditions for a long time.
"If he (Amarinder Singh) wants to eat crow and go with BJP, he can. Who can stop him if he can't stay with his old commitment to secularism? He was considered a symbol of 'Sarvdharm Sambhav' and was connected to Congress' traditions for a long time. If he wants to go, he should," said Mr Rawat.
"Who can forgive BJP that has kept farmers at the borders for 10 months? Can Punjab forgive them for the manner in which farmers' agitation has been dealt with? His statement is really shocking. It seems he has killed the 'secular Amarinder' within him," he added.
The Congress leader further claimed that the party's performance in the upcoming Assembly polls would not be affected by the political affiliations of Amarinder Singh and will depend on the performance of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi's government.
"Congress will not suffer any loss; this will actually divide the votes of our rivals. Congress will not be affected. Our votes will depend on the performance of the Channi governemnt, the way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation," he added.
On his meeting with Rahul Gandhi, Mr Rawat said, "I had come here to talk about Uttarakhand. Elections will be held there and the latest natural calamity that struck the state - I briefed him on it. I will also meet the Congress president."
Earlier on Tuesday, Amarinder Singh said he will launch a new political party soon to fight the forthcoming assembly polls in the state and is hopeful of a tie-up with BJP if the ongoing protest by farmer unions against three farm laws is resolved "in farmers' interest".
Assembly elections in Punjab are scheduled to be held next year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)