Sidhu takes over as Punjab Cong chief

Chandigarh, Jul 23 (PTI):
Navjot Singh Sidhu here on Friday took over as the new chief of the Punjab Congress at an event attended by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who said they will work together for the state’s welfare.
Sidhu, who replaces Sunil Jakhar as the state party chief, took charge along with four working presidents at the party headquarters, which was jam-packed with Congress leaders and workers.
The party high command had appointed Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra as working presidents to assist Sidhu in the run-up to the state Assembly elections next year.
The 57-year-old Amritsar MLA was appointed the Punjab Congress chief, notwithstanding the strong opposition from Amarinder Singh, who had earlier refused to meet Sidhu, citing his “derogatory” tweets against him.
Sidhu in a letter on Thursday requested the CM to come for the installation ceremony, calling him the “eldest of the Punjab Congress family” and saying he had “no personal agenda”.
Softening his stance, the chief minister invited party MLAs for tea at Punjab Bhawan ahead of the installation ceremony at the party headquarters here.
The event was attended by Congress general secretary Harish Rawat, who is also the incharge of Punjab affairs at the AICC.
Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, senior party leaders Partap Singh Bajwa and Lal Singh were also present.
In his address, Sidhu said he has never hankered for any post and talked about giving up cabinet berth earlier.
Sidhu said the purpose of his presidentship is to resolve people’s issues.
The Congress is united and his aim is to work towards giving power back to people, Sidhu stressed.
Sidhu said for him major issues are that of farmers who are protesting for months against the Centre’s “black farm laws”, the issues pertaining to elementary teachers in the state, catching big fish involved in the drug racket and securing justice in desecration cases.
He said workers are the soul of the party, which derives power from them.
“All Congress workers in Punjab have become the party’s state unit chief today. There is no difference between a leader and a worker,” he said in an emotionally charged speech.

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