Congress's Decision On Amarinder Singh's Successor Likely By Today
Punjab Congress: The Congress has 80 MLAs in the 117-member Punjab assembly (File)
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The Congress has called a meeting of its MLAs for the second time in as many days. The MLAs on Saturday said party president Sonia Gandhi will decide on the new Chief Minister for the state.
In his parting shot, Amarinder Singh, 79, said he had been "humiliated thrice" and that the Congress is free to "appoint whoever they trust".
Asked about his plans post-resignation, Mr Singh said: "There is always an option, and I will use that option when the time comes... at the moment I am still in Congress." He added that he would "speak to my people who have supported me for the past 52 years".
Congress veteran and Rajya Sabha member Ambika Soni has declined to become Chief Minister after a late-night meeting with Rahul Gandhi, said sources. The MLAs have been called to find out their views. The central observers will report the findings back to the high command and then a decision will be taken.
The probable names doing the rounds to replace Mr Singh are - former Punjab Congress chiefs Sunil Jakhar and Pratap Singh Bajwa, and Beant Singh's grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Amarinder Singh has been involved in a long-running feud with his in-house rival Navjot Singh Sindhu, whom he called "incompetent" as he stepped down from his post.
In July, despite Amarinder Singh's strong resistance, the party appointed Navjot Sidhu its Punjab chief, but the acrimony between the two simmered 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.
The Punjab crisis reached a breaking point when the Congress called a sudden meeting of its legislators. Sources say over 50 MLAs had written to Sonia Gandhi demanding that the "Captain" be replaced as Chief Minister. Stung by the move, Amarinder Singh decided to put in his papers.
The Congress has 80 MLAs in the 117-member state assembly.