Congress on Friday appointed Rajasthan Minister Harish Chaudhary as the new party in-charge of poll-bound Punjab, heeding the request of senior leader Harish Rawat to relieve him from the post so that he could concentrate on Uttarakhand Assembly polls.
Chaudhary will be the party in-charge of poll-bound Punjab and the union territory of Chandigarh and the immediate task before him would be to equip the party to neutralise any challenge from former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has announced the launch of his party.
"Harish Rawat is being relieved from his current responsibility as AICC General Secretary in-charge of Punjab and Chandigarh. He shall continue as member CWC (Congress Working Committee," Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said.
With Punjab being a poll-bound state where the Congress stakes are high, sources said, Chaudhary is likely to be divested of his responsibilities as a Minister in Rajasthan to enable him to concentrate on his new assignment.
The 73-year-old former Uttarakhand Chief Minister has been asking the party's central leadership to relieve him from the responsibility for the past some time, as he wanted to concentrate in Uttarakhand.
Though he has not been announced as the face of the party in the polls early next year, Rawat hopes to be the Chief Minister of the state again.
For the Congress leadership, he had steered the party unit in Punjab and ensured that Amarinder Singh is ousted as Chief Minister following a campaign by Navjot Singh Sidhu with the support of top leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. He also helped the leadership to instal Sidhu as party chief in the state.
Two days ago, Rawat had once again tweeted his wish to be relieved of the responsibility in Punjab and indicated that the leadership has agreed to it.
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