Amarinder Singh To Lead Polls: Congress After 'Remove Captain' Calls

Amarinder Singh vs Navjot Sidhu: "We will contest 2022 Punjab elections under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh," said Harish Rawat, who is the party in-charge in Punjab.

Amarinder Singh: The rebels want Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to be replaced.

New Delhi:

The Congress backed Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh a day after a section of party leaders renewed their rebellion against his leadership. Senior party leader Harish Rawat said Mr Singh will lead the party in the coming state elections.

"We will contest 2022 Punjab elections under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh," said Mr Rawat, who is the party in-charge in the state.

The demand for Mr Singh's removal from the post of the Punjab Chief Minister resurfaced after he targeted the advisors of state Congress chief Navjot Sidhu over their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir.

Yesterday, 23 party MLAs, including four ministers, held a meeting and said they will write to the Central leadership on the issue.

"Captain should be replaced else the Congress won't survive... we will meet Sonia Gandhi over the issue," said cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa after the meeting.

Today, the four cabinet ministers -- Mr Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi -- met Mr Rawat in Dehradun. After the meeting with Mr Rawat, they were expected to go to Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting un-named sources.

The Congress has backed Mr Singh through the rebellion in the party ranks that lasted weeks. But their compromise formula also included elevation of Mr Sidhu, the biggest critic of the Chief Minister.

But the fresh infighting indicated that the crisis in the state party -- which started earlier this year -- is far from over.

A section of MLAs have been contending that Mr Singh's failure to meet the promises made ahead of the last state elections has upset the voters and they will not forgive the party.

The Congress has decided to back Mr Singh, one of the few mass leaders in the party.

Asked if she thinks Mr Sidhu is responsible for the unrest in the party, state leader Preneet Kaur said, "Of course he started it, it is his advisors".

"The Chief Minister showed maturity and largeness of heart. Once the high command decided that Sidhu was coming, CM said "It is the Congress chiefs decision ánd I abide by it',"" she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The rebels, she said, should "fall in line".

"This is not the time to rake up all these things. You rake them up at the party platform and go ahead. We want a united Congress to fight the election," she  added.