NEW DELHI: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Thursday claimed that the ‘real reason’ why Amarinder Singh was replaced as Punjab chief minister last year was because he was not in favour of providing free electricity to the poor.
“I will tell you why was Capt Amarinder Singh removed as the CM of Punjab. It is because he did not agree to provide free electricity to the poor people. He said I have a contract with the Power supplying companies,” he said at an election rally in Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab.
Singh, who led the Congress to victory in the 2017 assembly elections against the SAD-BJP combine, was replaced with Charanjit Channi, who became the chief minister in September last year.
The reason commonly attributed to his ouster was an acrimonious feud with Congress’ Punjab chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, and the party top brass was believed to be siding with the latter.
It is believed that Sidhu wanted to be reinstated in the Amarinder cabinet after being dropped as a minister for purported ‘non-performance.’ This snowballed into a ‘no holds barred’ power tussle with fissures emerging within the Punjab Congress.
Singh resigned as chief minister in September, once it was clear that the party top brass was not backing him. He also resigned from Congress in November, and floated his own party (Punjab Lok Congress) that is contesting the elections in alliance with the BJP.
Charanjit Channi, who was not considered a front-runner, emerged as the surprise CM pick to replace Singh. The Congress has already named him the CM-face for the upcoming Punjab elections.
Punjab will vote on February 20 in a multi-cornered contest between the Congress, AAP, PLC-BJP-SAD (Sanyukt) and SAD-BSP.