Harish Chaudhary replaces Harish Rawat as Congress Punjab affairs in-charge

Rajasthan Revenue Minister and AICC secretary Harish Chaudhary was on Friday appointed Punjab Congress affairs in-charge. Chaudhary has replaced AICC general secretary and former chief minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat.

Rawat’s tenure in Punjab remained eventful and saw a rebellion against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his ouster from the post of CM. Navjot Sidhu, who had quit Amarinder’s cabinet after having differences with him, was appointed PPCC chief in the face of fierce opposition by Amarinder.

Rawat had, however, been seeking from the high command that he should be relieved from the post as he had to concentrate on his election in Uttarakhand. The relieving orders came quite late, although he had been requesting for the same for quite some time.

Rawat had sought to be relieved several times but he was required to do firefighting every now and then. Even after the transition from Amarinder to Channi, he had to handle situations arising out of Sidhu’s resignation.

Rawat said, “I am very thankful to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi that she gave me the opportunity to head Punjab as incharge. I am also thankful to all leaders of Punjab Congress who helped me take tough decisions in difficult situations. I have immense satisfaction that the state is in the hands of two capable leaders – Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu – who are moving forward together. They will get guidance from my associate Harish Chaudhary. I hope Punjab Congress will reach new heights and I will be able to handle dedicatedly my work as campaign committee chief in Uttarakhand.”

Chaudhary has already worked in Punjab in the past as deputy to former AICC general secretary in-charge Asha Kumari and Shakeel Ahmed also.

He had an important role to play in Amarinder’s removal and was tipped to be the incharge.

Chaudhary was instrumental in taking feedback about Amarinder from the MLAs and organising telephonic conversations between these MLAs and AICC leader Rahul Gandhi. He had also worked behind the scenes to ensure that the MLAs went to Amarinder’s house when the party had called CLP, a few hours before his ouster.

He faces an uphill task ahead, of taking Channi and Sidhu together, especially when the state will go to elections in 2022 and will have to distribute tickets.

Asked whether he would be able to take Channi and Sidhu together, Chaduahary said, “Not just the two of them but the entire Congress family will go together”

He added that the differences are natural in a democratic set up.

Speaking on given the new role while being a Rajasthan minister, Chaudhary said he is a votary of one person one post rule and that he would take it up with the party leadership. “I will take it up with them. Whatever they decide, I will abide by that,” he said.

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