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Navjot Singh Sidhu appointed as Punjab Congress President amid infighting

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new president of the party’s Punjab unit, despite strong opposition from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Gandhi also appointed four working presidents to assist Sidhu for the next assembly elections.

The appointments came after internal squabbles and public squabbles, which split the state unit between two factions over allegiance to Singh and Sidhu.

The new working presidents are Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Daini, Pawan Goyal and Kuljit Singh Nagra, who represent different regions and castes.

“The Congress President has appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect,” a party statement said.

“The party appreciates the contribution of outgoing PCC President Sunil Jakhar,” the statement said.

Nagra, who was in charge of party affairs in Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura, has been relieved of his current responsibilities.

Sidhu, who joined the Congress from the BJP ahead of the last assembly elections in 2017, has intensified his efforts to garner support over the past few days and has met several MLAs and leaders.

With this decision, the party leadership has given a clear indication of putting its side behind Sidhu, ignoring the opposition of Amarinder Singh.

The leadership feels that Sidhu can lead the party’s campaign with renewed vigor and vigor and help ensure its victory in the assembly elections due early next year.

Sidhu’s ability to draw crowds and launch a vigorous campaign has worked in his favor as the party feels it is necessary to infuse new energy into the ranks of the party, when it has come to a standstill after four-and-a-half years in power.

The support of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also helped Sidhu to hold on to the post despite stiff resistance.

The cricketer-turned-politician now faces a challenge to unite the party and bring unity in the party apart from winning the trust of old leaders and veterans.

Chief Minister Singh is understood to have told Sonia Gandhi that he would not meet Sidhu until he publicly apologized for the attacks on him in recent days.

A call is being made by party veterans to unite the party ahead of the assembly elections, otherwise the AAP and the Akali Dal-BSP alliance may topple it.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat congratulated Sidhu and the four working presidents.

He thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhi for approving the new team in Punjab. Rawat said, “Thank you madam for your great gesture.”

(Only the title and image in this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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