"Talk More In Private, Less In Public": Congress To Its Leaders Amid Punjab Crisis

With veteran leader and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh deciding to quit the party, Supriya Shrinate hoped that he would reconsider his decision, calling him a "soldier" of the Congress.

'Talk More In Private, Less In Public': Congress To Its Leaders Amid Punjab Crisis

Punjab Congress is in turmoil after Captain was removed as Chief Minister, Navjot Sidhu quit his post


Amid the ongoing crisis within the Congress in Punjab, its national spokesperson Supriya Shrinate on Friday expressed the hope that its leaders "talk more in private and less in public."

With veteran leader and former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh deciding to quit the party, she hoped that he would reconsider his decision, calling him a "soldier" of the Congress.

"Amarinder Singh is an extremely respected Congressman. He has been a Congress soldier for long, he has been the Chief Minister for about nine years and nine months. He is respected. To change is the very symptom of life. Our elected MLAs felt there was a leadership change required in Punjab, which is what we did," Ms Shrinate said. The Punjab unit of the Congress is in turmoil after Amarinder Singh was removed as Chief Minister and its chief Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned from his post ahead of the assembly elections next year. Singh had on Thursday made it clear that he was not joining the BJP, but said he had no intention of continuing in the Congress, which, he said, was going downhill, with senior party leaders being completely ignored. Speaking to reporters, Ms Shrinate claimed that Congress created "history" by making Charanjit Singh Channi the first Dalit CM of Punjab with the support of MLAs, and challenged the BJP, which has governments in 17 states, to "show one Dalit CM".

"There will always be rumblings within the party, there will always be people who will disagree with the decisions. I hope Captain Saab (Singh) will come around and understand that he is a very valued senior soldier of the Congress and will continue to fight for the justice and rights of the people," she added.

Stating that Mr Sidhu quit as Punjab Congress chief due to some difference of opinion, Ms Shrinate said he is as valuable a colleague as anybody else and the party has entrusted him with an important task.

Expressing hope that everybody in the Punjab Congress and otherwise would be able to see the rationale behind the decisions taken, she said,"...what happens within our party is very public. I hope our leaders talk more in private and less in public."

To a question on senior party leader Kapil Sibal raising questions over the functioning of the Congress, the spokesperson hoped that the issues raised by him were not done from public platforms.

"Mr Sibal is a very valued and dedicated colleague. He has raised some issues. I just hope that those issues are not raised from public platforms. While I appreciate his right to raise those issues...raising such issues from public platforms will unnecessarily give ammunition to our opponents," she said.

Not supporting party workers protesting outside his house carrying ''Get Well Soon Kapil Sibal'' placards, she said "expressing views publicly will hurt the sentiments of workers who fight every day in and out, battling the ideology. You disrespect their fight and they feel let down and sometimes in a fit of temper they end up doing what was done...it should not have been done."

Responding to a question on a group of Congress MLAs known to be close to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel are camping in Delhi, amid speculation over the possibility of a leadership change in Chhattisgarh, the party Spokesperson said there is no "impending situation" in that state.

"We have a very well run government and well meaning people there. Ours is a democratic party. We are not ruled by one master. As a democratic party we dissent, debate, disagree, we have rumblings within and we are very public about that. Should our leaders be talking publicly? Perhaps a little less," she said.

Asked whether it was high time for Congress to choose a non-Gandhi face, she said it is for the party to decide who our leader will be and the party rank and file feel that their leader is Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi.

"It is fashionable for some sections of the media and Delhi twitterati to talk about having a non-Gandhi leader....If Congress feels our leader is Rahul Gandhi, I don't think we take any suggestion from people on our leadership," she added.

Terming the fuel prices hike as a "Modi government made disaster", Ms Shrinate said "the government can bring in a lot of relief for the common people. It can bring down the excise duty, which will bring in a lot of respite. But it has made up its mind to fill up its kitty by breaking the back of the common man."

Pointing out that about 3,000 kg heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore was seized in Gujarat's Adani Mundra port, Ms Shrinate demanded a full inquiry under the sitting Supreme Court justice so that the real identity of the "drug syndicate" and their patron come to light.

A total of 25,000 kg heroin worth Rs 1,75,000 crore imported in June is already in the market, she claimed, adding, the drug import from Afghanistan poses a serious threat to national security and is pushing the youth towards addiction.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)