Rajasthan revenue minister Harish Chaudhary will be the Congress in-charge of poll-bound Punjab replacing veteran Congress leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. The development is not sudden as Harish Chaudhary’s name was being speculated as a replacement for Harish Rawat for some time amid the Congress’s trouble in Punjab.
“Congress President has appointed Shri Harish Chaudhary as AICC In-Charge of Punjab and Chandigarh with immediate effect. Harish Rawat is being relieved from his current responsibility as AICC General Secretary In-Charge of Punjab and Chandigarh. He shall continue as a member of CWC. The party appreciates his contributions as General Secretary,” said AICC general secretary K C Venugopal in a statement.
Chaudhary’s name was speculated at a time when Sidhu resigned from the post of the Punjab Congress chief following his differences with Charanjit Singh Channi over appointments. At that time, Chaudhary said he will take whatever opportunity the party will give him.
The differences between Channi and Sidhu were resolved and Sidhu continued in the post of the party president. The situation was overcome after it was decided that a coordination committee will be formed.
While the change in the party affairs in-charge was due, an apparent new threat to Punjab Congress is Amarinder Singh floating a new party that may tie up with the BJP. The Congress however asserted that this will not be a threat for the party; Amarinder Singh’s outfit will only divide the rival votes, the Congress said.
Harish Chaudhary was a key part of the developments that rocked Punjab in the last few months, including the resignation of Amarinder Singh. Chaudhary was appointed as an observer of the party’s affairs by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Harish Rawat, on the other hand, had been requesting the party leadership to relieve him from Punjab Congress in-charge duty as he wanted to focus on plans for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, reports said.