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India

oi-Deepika S

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, July 18: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee amid infighting.

Navjot Singh Sidhu

Kuljit Nagra, Pawan Goel, Sukhwinder Singh Danny and Sangat Singh Gillian have been appointed as working presidents in the state.

“Congress president has appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect,” according to a party statement.

“The party appreciates the contributions 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 present responsibilities.

The announcement of Sidhu’s elevation came after days of speculation and amid strong opposition from the chief minister.

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

With the decision, the party leadership has clearly signalled to put its weight behind Sidhu while ignoring Amarinder Singh’s opposition.

The leadership feels Sidhu can lead the party’s campaign with fresh energy and enthusiasm and help ensure its victory in the upcoming assembly polls slated for early next year.

Sidhu’s ability to pull crowds and launch a vigorous campaign has worked in his favour as the party feels that infusing fresh energy in the party ranks is required at a time slackness has set in after four-and-half years in power.

The support of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also helped in Sidhu clinching the post despite strong resistance.

The cricketer-turned-politician now faces the challenge of uniting the party and bringing cohesion in its ranks, besides winning the trust of the old guard and veterans.

Chief Minister Singh is learnt to have told Sonia Gandhi that he will not meet Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his attacks on him in the recent past.

with PTI inputs

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