Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), in a jumbo rejig Saturday, gave a berth to family members of several senior leaders, while ‘sidelining’ loyalists of former state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa. The rejig also aimed at providing equal representation from all sections of society.
The jumbo list of 258 PPCC office-bearers also deviated from the claims of Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh that party MLAs would not be given any other important positions as a number of party MLAs have been named the office bearers.
Interestingly, the reshuffle is far off from AICC V-P Rahul Gandhi’s idea of bringing about a generational shift , as all senior leaders have been included in the list of 35 permanent invitees. The list includes names of Ambika Soni, Partap Singh Bajwa, former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former PCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur, late CM Beant Singh’s son and former minister Tejparkash Singh among others.
Among the 24 special invitees are the kin of senior leaders starting Bajwa’s wife and sitting MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, Dullo’s wife Harbans Kaur Dullo, Amarinder’s brother and son Malwinder Singh and Raninder Singh respectively. While MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi’s son Anumeet has also been included in the list, Bhattal’s son-in-law Vikram Bajwa is general secretary.
The Congress made it a day to remember for Amarinder’s loyalists who were included in the list of 36 vice presidents. While former CLP leader Sunil Jakhar was given prominence by appointing him as the chief spokesperson of the party, others of the likes of Rana Gurjit, Tript Bajwa, Sukh Sarkaria, Kewal Dhillon, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Rana Gurmit Sodhi were included in the list of vice presidents.
Senior leader Manpreet Singh Badal has also been included in the list of vice presidents and former chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala’s name sake wife, Surjit Kaur Barnala, who merged her party with the Congress has been named a permanent invitee.
Amarinder’s close aide, Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu, who was earlier the PCC office incharge, was included on the top of the general secretaries list. Others on the list include Bajwa’s brother Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, Ramanjit Singh Sikki, former MLA who resigned from Khadoor Sahib.
In a major snub to Bajwa and his loyalists, former general secretary Rajanbir Singh was demoted as an executive member. Out of 14 district congress committee presidents replaced in the total list of 28, seven belonged to the Bajwa camp.
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They included Paramjit Singh Mann from Barnala, who has been replaced with Makhan Lal Sharma, Mai Roop Kaur from Sangrur, replaced by Rajinder Singh Raja, Kaushal Kumar from Fazilka, replaced by Jakhar’s confidant Vimal Thathai, Rajiv Bhagat from Amritsar, replaced by Jugal Kishore, who is an accused in Amritsar improvement trust scam. Guru Singh from Bathinda (rural) has been replaced by Varinder Singh Guleria. Darshan Singh Brar, former DCC president from Moga, who made headlines when a Congress woman Malti Thapar levelled allegations of sexual harassment against him, has been replaced with Col Babu Singh. Brar was earlier a close confidant of Bajwa but later switched loyalties and joined Captain.