Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new president of the party’s Punjab unit, notwithstanding the opposition from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Sidhu’s appointment came after months of infighting in the state unit as the former cricket had openly rebelled against Captain Amarinder Singh’s government over several issues.
Besides Sidhu, Gandhi also appointed four working presidents to assist Sidhu in the run-up to the next assembly elections. The new working presidents are Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra.
Nagra, who was in-charge of party affairs in Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura, has been relieved of his present responsibilities.
“Congress President has appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect. Congress President has also appointed Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra as Working Presidents of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee,” according to a statement issued by Congress general secretary KC Venugopal.
The decision came after rounds of meetings between Congress high command with Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sindhu.
Amarinder Singh on Friday wrote to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi expressing apprehensions about the possible appointment of party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu as Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, sources had said.
Congress general secretary in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat met Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh in Mohali on July 17. Later he said that Amarinder Singh has assured him that he will honour any decision taken by the party high command.
However, Rawat reiterated that Amarinder Singh will remain the chief ministerial face of the party for the upcoming Assembly elections since his governance has earned praise from the people of the state and also because “Punjabis don’t want to experiment with their political leadership.”
Rawat had met Sonia Gandhi on Friday and submitted his report regarding proposed changes in the Punjab Congress. Sidhu was also present during the meeting. Amarinder Singh had also met Sonia Gandhi last week.