Punjab CM Amarinder Singh 'likely to quit' ahead of key meet as Congress crisis deepens

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to put in his papers ahead of the crucial Congress Legislature Party meeting in Chandigarh...

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has decided to put in his papers ahead of the crucial Congress Legislature Party meeting in Chandigarh on Saturday evening, sources close to him were quoted as saying by PTI.

The chief minister will meet the Punjab governor around 4.30 pm and resign from the post.

Earlier in the day, Amarinder Singh spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and expressed his anguish and displeasure over his repeated "humiliation", the sources added.

They said Amarinder Singh took the decision at a meeting of legislators close to him at the his official residence in Chandigarh a little after 2 pm.

The move came ahead of Congress Legislature Party at 5 pm at the Punjab Congress office in Chandigarh. The meeting was necessitated by 50 MLAs writing to the party high command that Amarinder Singh be replaced as chief minister.

Sources told PTI that the current crisis is "serious" with so many MLAs seeking the chief minister's replacement just a few months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.

Senior party leaders Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary will be attending this evening's meet along with AICC general secretary in-charge for Punjab affairs of the party Harish Rawat.

The differences in the party have been driven by differences between the chief minister and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is eyeing the chief minister's post.

Sources, according to NDTV, added that probables for the post are being considered and that former Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar is the top contender. Jakhar, who is not an MLA, is believed to be close the top leadership and is considered a prominent Hindu face of the party.

Jakhar all but announced that Amarinder Singh was on his way out.

Trouble in the Punjab Congress 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.

Elections in the state are due in about four months.

Inputs from agencies

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