In a clear sign of revolt on Monday, Congress MP and Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur changed her display picture on Twitter to ‘Captain for 2022’ apart from removing the party’s name from her bio. Elected to the Lok Sabha from Patiala 4 times since 1999, she has served as the Minister of State for External Affairs in the UPA government from 2009 to 2012. Notably, the Sonia Gandhi-led party won 7 out of 9 Assembly seats that fall under the constituency represented by Kaur in the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls.
This latest development assumes significance as Preneet Kaur was asked to provide an explanation of her “anti-party activities” failing which Congress threatened to take disciplinary action against her. The show-cause notice issued on November 24 read, “From the last many days, we are continuously receiving reports from Congress workers, MLAs, leaders from Patiala and the media about your anti-party activities. This information and news has been coming ever since your husband Captain Amarinder Singh Ji resigned from the party and floated his own party: Punjab Lok Congress. We are also made aware of your open announcements in the media about siding with your husband’s party”.
Amarinder Singh’s exit from Congress
Amid the infighting between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu, the situation escalated after Congress summoned a Legislative Party meeting at 5 pm on September 18 without keeping the Punjab CM in the loop. Amid growing speculation that Singh will be ousted, the latter tendered his resignation to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit at about 4.30 pm on the same day owing to “humiliation”. Speaking exclusively to Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Singh asserted that he would remain active in politics.
Formally resigning from Congress on November 2, Singh wrote a scathing 7-page letter to party president Sonia Gandhi explaining the rationale behind his decision. He took umbrage at the “midnight conspiracy” carried out by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra whereby a Congress Legislative Party meeting was called without keeping him in the loop. On this occasion, he also announced that his new party will be called ‘Punjab Lok Congress’.
Speaking to the media after his meeting with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar a day earlier, the former Punjab CM affirmed, “Everything is going fine. People are very upbeat and our membership drive is going well. God willing, we and with our seat adjustment with the BJP and with Mr. (Sukhdev Singh) Dhindsa party (SAD Sanyukt), we will form the government.”