Chandigarh: The Congress has selected Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari to replace Kamal Nath as the general secretary in-charge of Punjab ahead of next year’s assembly polls in the state.
Kumari, who had earlier this year been convicted in a land grab case, is presently out on bail. Nath resigned as the party’s in-charge of Punjab affairs earlier on June 15 following a controversy over his alleged role in the 1984 riots. In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Nath requested her to relieve him from his duties so that the attention of the party is not diverted from real issues such as the ‘rampant drug trade’ in Punjab.
“Certain elements are raking up these issues now only for political gains. I am touched by the support shown by our party workers and leaders in Punjab in rejecting the false accusations. I am a practitioner of Nehruvian politics and maligning of the Congress party using false accusations is unacceptable to me,” Nath said in the letter.
Hoping that the party focuses on the upcoming elections rather than the furore over his appointment, he added the Congress must highlight the issues of misgovernance, misery of farmers and youth, break down of law and order and rampant drug trade in Punjab.
“Given this, I request that I may be relieved of my charge to ensure that the attention is not diverted from the real issues facing Punjab,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy had earlier ridiculed the Congress and said that the grand old party is foolish as it is not able to decide whom to appoint in Punjab.
Swamy told ANI, “The Congress is foolish. They don’t know whom to appoint in Punjab. In any case the people of Punjab don’t like the Congress.”
Kumari’s selection as the Congress’ general secretary in-charge of Punjab can be seen as an attempt on part of the grand old party to boost its chances in Punjab.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government has been in power for two consecutive terms in Punjab where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also trying hard to prove its mettle this time.