Sukhu takes charge, says target 2014 polls

Newly appointed state Congress "officiating" president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Tuesday assumed office in the presence of top party leaders and hundreds of youth workers.

AICC General Secretary Birender Singh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, IPH Minister Vidya Stokes and other ministers including Kaul Singh Thakur and G S Bali attended the function.

"The party's next target is the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. We expect to win all the four seats and strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi to form the UPA government at the Centre for the third successive time," said Birender Singh. This time, the party's slogan is "Lakshya 2014 and Udheshya Jeet (Mission 2014 and aim victory)".

"I am lucky that all former party presidents Virbhadra Singh, Vidya Stokes, Viplove Thakur, Kuldeep Kumar and Kaul Singh came to the function," Sukhu told mediapersons later. A two-time former Congress MLA, Sukhu (48), had recently replaced Virbhadra as the "officiating" party chief.

Laying out a road map to build the party's network and give equal space to both experienced and young cadres, Sukhu said: "The party will work as a bridge between the government and people of the state. The issues of the people will be brought to the government's notice for a solution. Our immediate target is to retain Mandi Lok Sabha seat, which has been vacated by Virbhadra Singh. In three months, I will tour all the districts."

Asked about arrest of Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhry for the murder of a Hoshiarpur woman, Sukhu said action will be taken against the accused.

"Everything required will be done to keep the party's image clean. I will discuss issue with senior leaders and soon take appropriate action in the matter. It is a serious issue," he added.

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