With only a year left for the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the Congress today wrested back the post of president of the party’s Punjab unit from his beta noire Pratap Singh Bajwa to former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who has twice served in the post earlier.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi appointed Capt Amarinder as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president after his yearlong battle of nerves with his predecessor Partap Bajwa, who quit yesterday making way for the former CM.
“It won’t be a one-man show. We all will work together to bring the Congress to power in Punjab. We have no factionalism,” Capt Amarinder told media when asked how he proposed to take the state leaders along amid fears of his personality overshadowing them. Capt insisted that even his fight for Bajwa’s replacement wasn’t personal.
Yet, even though he has got his much cherished trophy, his wings have been clipped with the appointment of former Union minister Ambika Soni as the chairperson of the party’s campaign committee and that of former Punjab minister Lal Singh as senior vice president of the unit – both eyesores for the former maharaja.
The party high command today ensured a comprehensive reshuffle in Punjab, naming, Dalit leader Sadhu Singh Dharamsot as vice-chairman and Lok Sabha MP from Ludhiana Ravneet Bittu as its convener.
Battle Royale in Punjab
- Sonia Gandhi was reportedly in favour of giving the mantle back to Capt Amarinder, which Rahul Gandhi resisted
- Capt Amarinder had proven support of at least 35 of the 43 Congress MLAs in the state
- Amarinder Singh’s detractors pointed out that he had led the party to defeat in two consecutive assembly polls in 2007 and 2012
- The Congress high command made him party president but refrained from giving him absolute power
- He will be under renewed attack from the SAD-BJP as well as the AAP which is also eyeing the 2017 elections