Stung by former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's criticism of the Gandhis, the Congress today said it "hoped" he would reconsider his remarks as they "do not suit his stature". A spokesperson commented: "The elderly often say things in anger".
The Congress refused to comment on whether Amarinder Singh would quit the party after his replacement as Chief Minister. "If someone wants to leave, we have no comment to offer," said Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate.
Yesterday, Amarinder Singh made a series of comments targeting his rival Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Punjab Congress president, and called Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra "inexperienced and misguided". He also declared that he would put up a strong candidate versus Navjot Sidhu in the Punjab election early next year, to make sure he never became Chief Minister.
"He is our senior and the elderly often get angry and say a lot of things. We respect his anger, age, and experience. We hope he does reconsider his words. But there is no space in politics for anger, envy, enmity, vendetta, and personal attacks and comments against political opponents," Ms Shrinate told reporters.
"We hope he will rethink on his own words while showing prudence, as he has been a stalwart of the Congress party, which made him Chief Minister for nine years and nine months," she said.
Amarinder Singh retorted shortly afterward. "Yes, there's no space for anger in politics. But is there space for humiliation and insult in a grand old party like Congress? If a senior party leader like me can be treated like this, I wonder what the workers must go through," Mr Singh's former media adviser Raveen Thukral quoted him as saying.
The Captain quit on Saturday saying he felt humiliated after the party called a meeting of MLAs without telling him. A day later, the Congress named Charanjit Singh Channi, who is close to his rival Navjot Sidhu, as his successor.