Chandigarh, Oct 2 (PTI) Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday attacked the Congress, alleging that "preposterous lies" were being floated by party leaders in a "clear bid to cover up their mishandling of the crisis" in the state.

His remarks came hours after Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that 78 party legislators had sought Singh's ouster in a letter to the central leadership, and it was not party president Sonia Gandhi who made him quit.

Pointing to "conflicting" numbers shared by AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs incharge Harish Rawat and Surjewala about the "purported" letter that expressed lack of confidence against him, Singh said it was "a comedy of errors".  Rawat had said in a press statement on Friday that 43 MLAs had written to the high command on the issue.

"It seems the entire party has become imbued with Navjot Singh Sidhu's sense of comic theatrics," Singh said, retorting, "Next they will claim that 117 MLAs wrote to them against me." "This is the state of affairs in the party. They cannot even coordinate their lies properly," Singh claimed.

He claimed that the Congress was in a "total state of disarray" and the crisis seemed to be escalating by the day, with a large majority of its senior leaders completely "disenchanted" with the functioning of the party.

The fact of the matter, said the former chief minister, was that the 43-odd MLAs who had signed the said letter had been "forced to do so under duress".  Having been pushed into a corner over its "mishandling" of the Punjab crisis, the Congress is now in a total state of panic which was evident in the statements of its leaders, Singh claimed .

Singh said the "panic-stricken" party, which was grappling with internal chaos, was trying hard to shift the blame of its own failures.

"It's sad to see the way they are resorting to blatant lies to justify their wrongdoings," he said in a statement.

The Congress veteran alleged that "preposterous lies" were being floated by party leaders in a "clear bid to cover up their mishandling of the crisis" in Punjab.

Early in the day, Surjewala said that when any chief minister loses the confidence of all of his legislators then he should not remain in his post.

"Seventy-eight out of 79 legislators (in Punjab) had written for a change of the chief minister. Had we not changed the CM, then you would have accused us of being a dictator. Seventy-eight MLAs are on one side and a CM is on the other side, and you are not listening to them," he said while addressing the media here.

Sonia Gandhi is Congress's president and the decision on changing the chief minister in Punjab was not taken by her. As I told you 78 MLAs had written and then we changed the CM," Surjewala added.