Punjab Congress shows unity after former CM announces new party

Fearing possible defections amid never-ending power tussles within, the Congress government in Punjab put up a show of unity on Tuesday, saying that ministers and legislators are firmly behind Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and are grateful for “landmark initiatives” for the state’s overall development.

The meeting took place hours after former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who quit after a long-drawn spell of infighting, formally resigned from the Congress and announced his new party. In his letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Singh attacked the top party leadership and said that “concocted numbers” were put before Gandhi to convince her that state leaders did not back him.

Singh also threatened to reveal names of ministers who were allegedly involved in sand mining during his tenure. Coupled with this, he also hinted that many Congress leaders are in touch with him and may switch to his party. Expectedly, alarm bells rang in the state Congress and a meeting of the Chief Minister with party MLAs and ministers was arranged in which Channi appealed to them to stick together.