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Punjab chief minister resigns ahead of Indian state elections

Singh's quit deepens crisis within main opposition Congress party

Punjab chief minister resigns ahead of Indian state elections

By Shuriah Niazi


Amarinder Singh resigned on Saturday as the chief minister of Punjab, a northern Indian state bordering Pakistan, amid an ongoing political tussle within the main opposition Congress party ahead of state elections early next year.

Singh, 79, submitted his resignation to Punjab Governor Banvarilal Purohit. Later, he announced his resignation on Twitter.

The state Congress leaders who met after his resignation authorized the party’s national head Sonia Gandhi to decide whom to replace Singh.

“I feel humiliated. This happened for the third time that members of legislative assembly are being called for a meeting,” he told reporters after submitting his resignation. "My leadership is being questioned."

He, however, said that he has no plans to quit the Congress party for now.

Singh brought his party to power in the 2017 state elections with a nearly two-thirds majority. Later cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sindh launched a campaign against Singh which forced his exit as chief minister.

Singh said he will oppose Sidhu for the post of Punjab chief minister.

"In the interest of the country, I will oppose his name for the post of Chief Minister of Punjab. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is his friend and he has friendly relations with the army chief there."

His unceremonious ouster may make the party's chances of coming back to power in the state dim ahead of elections.

After its defeat in the 2014 general elections, the Congress party had been continuously losing state after state, but the 2017 win in the state came as a relief for the party which had ruled the country for almost 70 years after independence.

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