Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down as Punjab chief minister on Saturday and said he felt "humiliated" after the MLAs convened third meet in recent months demanding a change in leadership.
He further said the Congress is free to "appoint whoever they trust", adding that he would "exercise his options when the time comes".
I feel humiliated by the way talks transpired. I spoke with the Congress president this morning, told them that I will be resigning today... This is the third time in recent months in meeting MLAs... which is why I decided to quit..:Amarinder Singh after resigning as Punjab CM pic.twitter.com/rFojYU51or
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2021
He submitted his resignation along with that of his council of ministers, his media advisor said.
"Captain Amarinder Singh has met Punjab Governor and submitted his and his council of ministers' resignation. He will address the media at the Raj Bhavan gate in a few minutes from now," his media advisor had said on Twitter.
The dramatic events in the Punjab Congress unfolded as the All India Congress Committee has decided to convene a meeting of the CLP this evening in the wake of a fresh letter by 50 legislators.
Captain's Singh's son Raninder made it official with a tweet in which he said: "...must go now as I am proud to accompany my father to Raj Bhawan when he submits his resignation as CM of Punjab and leads us as head of our family into a new beginning et all."
My father submitting his resignation to HE the Governor Sahib of Punjab. pic.twitter.com/RyINJSUeh5
— Raninder Singh (@RaninderSingh) September 18, 2021
Over 50 Congress legislators from Punjab have written to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking that Singh be replaced as chief minister, highly placed party sources revealed to news agency PTI on Saturday ahead of a crucial meeting of the Congress Legislative Party in Chandigarh.
As crisis intensifies once again in the Punjab unit of the party -- driven by differences between the chief minister and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu -- Singh is also learnt to have talked to Gandhi and expressed his anguish over his repeated "humiliation". There was no official confirmation about the chief minister calling Gandhi.
Sources said the current crisis is "serious" with so many MLAs seeking the chief minister's replacement just a few months ahead of assembly elections in the state. The MLAs in their letter to Gandhi sought the convening of the CLP meeting, being held at 5 pm on Friday at the Congress Bhawan in Chandigarh.
The high command has deputed senior party leaders Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary as central observers. AICC general secretary in-charge for Punjab affairs of the party Harish Rawat will also be present during the meeting. Sources said anything could happen at today's meeting. If the MLAs insist on their demand, the change in leadership might happen at the CLP meeting itself, they said.
Amarinder Singh's bete-noire and PCC president Sidhu, who is eyeing the chief minister's post, however, is unlikely to be a probable choice for the chief minister's replacement, the sources pointed out. Former Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar may be considered a probable, they said.
Kudos to Sh @RahulGandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 18, 2021
Jakhar, who is not an MLA, is believed to be close the top leadership and is considered a prominent Hindu face of the party.
Trouble between the two factions has been brewing for long and Amarinder Singh was strongly opposed to Sidhu's appointment as PCC chief.
Sidhu has been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh ever since he quit the Punjab cabinet as a minister in 2019. He had become more vocal in his views in the last some months.
Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised the banner of revolt against the Punjab CM and said they had no faith in Amarinder Singh's ability to honour unfulfilled promises.
With inputs from PTI