New Delhi: After facing humiliation in the recently concluded Assembly elections, the Congress leadership has taken firm steps to revamp its Punjab unit, reports claimed on Monday.
One such measure taken by the party high command is the elevation of Abohar MLA Sunil Jakhar as its legislature party leader.
Sunil is the son of veteran Congress leader Balram Jakhar, who also served as the Leader of Opposition in Punjab nearly 35 years back when Parkash Singh Badal became the chief minister in 1977.
A formal announcement in this regard will be made shortly by Gulchain Singh Charakh, party general secretary in charge for Punjab.
Sunil’s elevation to the post is been seen as a balancing act by the Congress party, which wants to win back the Hindu and urban voters, which led to the party’s defeat in the assembly elections.
By appointing the 58-year-old Jakhar, the Congress party has also balanced the power equation as state president Captain Amarinder Singh hails from the dominant Jat Sikh community.
Jakhar replaces Rajinder Kaur Bhattal as murmurs of resentment in Congress rank and file were getting louder against the status quo.
Party insiders claim that through this rejiz, Congress wants to pass on the baton to the second-rung leadership in the state and send across a clear message to the Hindus that they would be taken care of.
Patiala legislator Brahm Mohindra and Sunil Jakhar were two top contenders for the post. However, Jakhar’s clean image, good track record and his family legacy worked in his favour.
Sunil Jakhar had emerged as a consensus candidate to many party veterans in Punjab including Capt Amarinder Singh and his supporters.
Jakhar’s appointment for the top job is in indication that the Congress wants to create a formidable team, which can take on the SAD-BJP.
Sunil, a three-time legislator, has been one of the most effective speakers of Congress in the last Assembly having raised several issues, including “malpractices” in the Agriculture Department, MNREGA and other Central schemes.
He was appointed chairman of Flagship Programme Monitoring Committee in run-up to Assembly polls. A graduate in economics with a MBA degree, Jakhar was a member of the House’s Estimates Committee in the last Assembly.