Chandigarh: Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday resigned from the Congress, accusing party president Sonia Gandhi and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of hatching a midnight conspiracy to oust him.
The 79-year-old leader timed his bitter resignation letter with an announcement on the name of his new party. The Punjab Lok Congress will be formally launched after the Election Commission registers it and allots a poll symbol.
Amarinder Singh's seven-page letter to Sonia Gandhi, made public on Twitter, lashed out at Navjot Singh Sidhu, the new Punjab Congress president whom he described as an acolyte of the Pakistani deep state, and "dubious individual" Harish Rawat, the former AICC in-charge for the state.
Singh also felt that the government led by Charanjit Singh Channi, his replacement as CM, was too inexperienced for the job of handling a border state.
The letter also carried a veiled threat to reveal the names of those in the Channi government who were allegedly involved in illegal sand-mining trade.
The former CM claimed he had inputs on this from intelligence agencies, but he didn't act because he did not want to embarrass the party.
I actually felt deeply hurt by your conduct and that of your children who I still deeply love as much as my own children, having known their father, since we were in school together since 1954, which is for 67 years now, he wrote on the party's action.
He resigned as the Punjab chief minister in September amid a bitter power tussle with Sidhu, the ex-cricketer favoured over him by the party high command.
Days later, he had made clear that he will quit the Congress and float his own party, not ruling out a tie-up with the BJP ahead of next year's assembly polls.
Singh told Sonia Gandhi that despite knowing him for the better part of his 52 years in public life and that too at a deeply personal level you never understood me or my character.
You thought I was getting on in years and should be put to pasture. I am neither tired nor retired. I feel I have a lot to give and contribute to my beloved Punjab... I intend to soldier on and not fade away, he said.
He slammed Sonia Gandhi over the Congress Legislature Party meeting, apparently called to choose his replacement as chief minister.
The most egregious act was the midnight conspiracy carried out against me at your and your children's behest by calling a CLP meeting over my head in the dead of the night and that too through Twitter, Singh said.
It was my prerogative as the CLP leader to have called the meeting if the AICC desired it. It was only early next morning that a colleague informed me that such an outrageous act has been committed, he wrote.
"You called me at 10:15am next morning and asked me to resign. I did so without batting even an eyelid. However, the crude manner in which the whole operation was executed by the undertakers of the AICC left a very foul taste in the mouth," he added.
Seemingly taking a dig at the Gandhi family over the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, he said, You probably thought that if this third world emergency imposition kind of circus that happened in June 1975 was not enacted, I would have whisked the MLAs to some resort.
Singh again questioned her decision on Sidhu.
Despite my profound reservations and over the unanimous advice of almost all the MPs from Punjab, you chose to appoint an acolyte of the Pakistani deep state Navjot Sidhu who had publicly hugged the Pakistan Army Chief Gen Bajwa and Prime Minister Imran Khan, as the president of the Punjab Congress Committee.
The former CM called Khan and Bajwa the people responsible for sending terrorists across the border to kill Indians.
Sidhu's only claim to fame was that he would abuse me and my government on a regular basis. I am old enough to be his father but that did not stop him from using the filthiest and most vile language against me both publicly and privately, he said.
Unfortunately rather than being reined in, he was patronised by Rahul and Priyanka, while you chose to turn a blind eye to the shenanigans of this gentleman who was aided and abetted by the General Secretary In-charge Harish Rawat, perhaps the most dubious individual I had the occasion to make acquaintance of.
Singh accused Sidhu of being of an unstable mind, and said she will regret her decision. When you chose to appoint a person who had been with the BJP for 14 years as PPCC President, I thought to myself where has the Congress come to, he said.
On illegal sand mining, he alleged that many offenders were Congress MLAs and ministers, including an overwhelming number in the new state government headed by Charanjit Singh Channi.
One of my enduring regrets would remain as to why I did not take some of them to task. The thought that it would embarrass the party held me back, he said.
I do intend making the list of these people public as this has been provided to me by the government of Punjab and state intelligence from time to time.
Stating that peace and security of Punjab and the country always remained paramount for him, he took a dig at the Channi government.
It is beyond my comprehension as to how these inexperienced hands will handle the security situation in view of the massive influx of weapons and explosives and narcotics, he said.