Completing his dominance over party affairs, newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday appointed MLA and known Captain Amarinder Singh baiter Pargat Singh as general secretary.
An official release issued by Sidhu said that with the approval of interim party president Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal and Punjab affairs incharge Harish Rawat, the Jalandhar Cantt MLA Pargat has been appointed as general secretary (organisation).
The entire top brass of Punjab Congress is now occupied by leaders close to Sidhu. Sources said that next on the agenda for the state party chief is the appointment of district-level coordinators and presidents of district units, besides other office-bearers. Insiders say that even in these appointments, Sidhu could have a large say as he has sent a proposal for approval to the party high command.
Sidhu had a few days ago in his address to party MLAs stressed on the infusion of fresh blood into the party and sources close to him said that this would be reflected in the appointments at the district level soon. Sources said that barring three MLAs, Kuljit Nagra, Sangat Singh Gilzian and Sukhwinder Danny, Sidhu could avoid inducting party MLAs as office-bearers in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).
“He realises that apart from the internal dissension, the party could face a challenge due to anti-incumbency in the upcoming elections. So by getting in fresh faces, Sidhu wants to counter that challenge," said a leader close to him.
Sidhu was made Punjab Congress chief on July 23 despite strong opposition from the chief minister against the backdrop of a long-running skirmish that has imperilled the party’s re-election bid in the state next year.
Sources said that apart from restructuring, Sidhu would also try to have a major say in the allotment of tickets in the 2022 assembly elections. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, though, during a recent meeting with Sonia Gandhi had emphasised that a consensus approach should be adopted while restructuring the party and for allotment of tickets.