Sonia ‘clips’ Bajwa’s wings, appoints four vice-presidents for Punjab Cong

In a move that is set to undermine the authority of newly appointed Punjab PCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress President Sonia Gandhi Tuesday appointed four PCC vice-presidents entrusting them with the charge of party organisations in three different regions —- two for Malwa and one each for Doaba and Majha.

While Tarlochan Singh Soondh has been given charge of Doaba region, Gurdeep Singh Kangar, and Charanjeet Singh Channi were given charge of Malwa region. OP Saini will look after the Majha region.

In a related development, the PCC withdrew Bajwa's Monday order appointing his younger brother, Fateh Jung Bajwa, as general secretary in-charge of Congress office and that of former MLA Sukhpal Khaira as the chief spokesman of the party.

A press release issued by the PPCC said, "All temporary appointments made in the PCC office Monday are hereby withdrawn with immediate effect till further orders."

Coming barely four days after Bajwa formally took charge of the PCC, the two developments are being seen as an attempt by the party high command to clip his wings.

Bajwa was candid on the stay on his yesterday's appointment. "It was done on the advice of a senior leader in the party hierarchy as they want the PCC to be recast in one go and not piecemeal. I had only appointed Fateh as officiating secretary but the press note sent by our office miscommunicated it as general secretary in-charge of the office. I was asked to stay the appointments and do it during the final recast," he said.

On the appointment of four vice-presidents, he said he welcomes the decision. He claimed he was asked by the high command (on the appointments) and he told them he had no problems working with anyone.

The party, while appointing the vice-presidents has taken caste and religious configurations into account. For politically important Malwa region, it has chosen Jat Sikh MLA Gurpreet Kangar who represents Rampura Phul and Charanjit Channi, who represents the SC reserved constituency of Chamkaur Sahib. For Dalit dominated Doaba, it has appointed Tarlochan Singh, who represents the reserved seat of Banga while for Majha, from where Bajwa hails, the charge has been given to Amritsar MLA OP Soni, a Hindu.

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