Chandigarh: Factional feud in Congress in Punjab in the wake of party's debacle in assembly poll came to the fore on Wednesday as some senior leaders walked out of a meeting presided over by PCC President Amarinder Singh.
Seventy one candidates who lost the state Assembly elections held recently in Punjab had been called to the meeting held in Chandigarh to discuss the party's poll defeat.
Former MLA Sukhpal Khaira, who has been vocal in recent times demanding a change in party leadership in Punjab, along with other state leaders of the party, Ripjit Brar, Mangat Rai Bansal, Surinderpal Sibia and Raman Bhalla walked out from the meeting.
Party sources said Khaira and others felt the party should hold a serious introspection over the poll defeat instead of holding "tea parties" or social get together.
The sources said some leaders felt convening the meeting was a move by the Amarinder camp to garner support at a time when his critics have been gunning for him after Congress' defeat in the January 30 polls in which it managed to win just 46 of the 117 Assembly seats.
They said Khaira had asked Amarinder in Wednesday's meeting to step down from the PCC chief's post as the party had faced two successive defeats in Punjab (2007 and 2012) under his leadership.
Amarinder Singh later told reporters that the leaders had been called for the meeting over tea to have a free discussion over recent poll results.
On his detractors walking out from the meeting, Amarinder sought to play down the issue. He also said "whether PCC President stays or goes is not the decision which will be taken in Punjab. I have already said I will continue as long as my party chief wants me to do so".