Sonia Gandhi admits shielding Capt Amarinder Singh for long was a mistake: Sourcestext_fields
New Delhi: Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi has reportedly admitted that shielding former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too long despite a series of complaints against him within the party's state unit was a "mistake," a source told NDTV.
As per the source, Sonia Gandhi's remark came during the Congress's four and half hour-long marathon meeting held on Sunday to dissect the party's disastrous performance in the five state elections last week.
At the meeting, attended by the Congress's top brass, Punjab in-charge Harish Chaudhary listed infighting and the late removal of Captain Amarinder Singh as the main reasons for the party's failure to retain the state.
One Congress leader at the CWC meeting opined that if the party high command wanted to remove Amarinder Singh, they should have done so sooner, as by that time anti-incumbency had set in.
This was when Sonia Gandhi intervened and said she was to be blamed as she shielded him for a long time, sources said.
"She admitted that it was her mistake and error of judgment to have allowed him to continue as Chief Minister," NDTV was told by a party leader who attended the meeting that reposed its faith in the Gandhis as its captains.
After months of internal wrangling between Amarinder Singh and the party's state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, the former Chief Minister was asked to step down in September, with just five months to go for the elections that were held in February.
He launched a new party, the Punjab Lok Congress, and fought the elections with the BJP, failing to win a single seat including his long-time bastion of Patiala.
After Captain Singh's departure, the Congress was besieged by another surreptitious rivalry between his successor Charanjit Singh Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu that led to a tug-of-war for the party's Chief Ministerial nomination.
That feud was settled by senior leader Rahul Gandhi, less than two weeks before the elections, who picked Mr Channi, praising him as the "son of a poor household" while his nephew came under anti-corruption raids.
The Congress scored just 18 seats out of 117 while the eight-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got 92, closing a stunning sweep led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab nominee Bhagwant Mann.