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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh resigns
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February 27, 2007 14:25 IST
Last Updated: February 27, 2007 15:05 IST

Following the defeat of the Congress in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh resigned on Tuesday.

Virtually conceding defeat in the Punjab Assembly elections, Amarinder sought to put the blame for the electoral debacle on the price rise.

Amarinder said the party fared badly in the urban areas while it performed well in rural areas like the Malwa region and strongly dismissed that anti-incumbency played a role in the drubbing.

"Congress has done well overall. But in the urban areas price rise was perhaps a factor," he said.

Amarinder said the Congress will play the role of an effective, constructive, aggressive and responsible opposition. "We will keep the government on its toes," Amarinder said.

He said the party has done a great deal for the state and has put it on the high growth trajectory.

"We encouraged the industry to come to Punjab," Singh said, adding that the new rule will take the state 25 years behind.

"We had put Punjab on the high growth trajectory, but the Akalis will take it back to square one. You will now have land prices falling and the industry will hesitate to come here."

He expressed disappointment at the party's performance in urban areas. "I am yet to unravel the fact about why the urban population has gone against us. The rural electorate was with us," he added.

The chief minister, who won from Patiala town constituency by a comfortable margin, ruled out that anti-incumbency factor going against the party. "If that was the case, why did Akali stalwarts like Gurdev Singh Badal and Tota Singh lose. Even (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal has not won by a huge margin from Lambi and I can say that we have dented some Akali strongholds," Amarinder said.

Amarinder did not agree that the visits of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had failed to make an impact on the voters. Asked if his party would have done better had they entered into some pre-poll alliance with the BSP or the Left, he said, "There was no such thing as entering into alliance with the BSP, but the Left parties were asking for about 14 seats, which we could not give".

Asked if he feared that the Akali-BJP combine, if it comes to power, would indulge in vindictive politics, Amarinder said, "These things don't even enter my mind."

He rubbished some media reports that he and his media adviser B I S Chahal were flying out of the country after the election results were out.

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