Amarinder Singh meets Rahul day after being made Punjab Congress chief

New Delhi, Nov 28: A day after being appointed Punjab Congress president, Amarinder Singh on Saturday met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi here to thank him for the decision and discuss the plan of action in the state which goes to polls in 2017.

Singh, the deputy leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, was received by the Gandhi scion with a warm hug, signalling bonhomie between the two leaders.

Amarinder Singh appointed PCC chief

Singh had been critical of Rahul in the past but later he advocated for Rahul's elevation to the post of party president. Singh will take over the charge at a public rally in Bathinda, the date for which would be announced "soon".

"I will take over as the PCC President at a public rally in Bathinda. The date of the rally will be announced soon," he said, after a meeting with senior party leaders here.

Singh taking over the charge at a rally in Bathinda assumes significance as he had recently accepted a challenge of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who at a public rally had asked if "Congress has courage to hold a public rally here (Bathinda)".

"Yes, we will hold a public rally at the same venue and it will be bigger than that of yours," Singh had responded. Bathinda in the bastion of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, from where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's daughter-in-law Harsimrat Badal is the Lok Sabha MP.

Singh was appointed the state unit chief following a bitter battle over leadership with the outgoing chief Partap Singh Bajwa who, party sources said, is likely to be accommodated in the AICC at the central level.

Singh is also likely to meet party president Sonia Gandhi and has sought time from her.

Today he spoke to Sonia on the phone and thanked her for the trust reposed in him to lead the Punjab unit, in what he described as a "challenging election" given AAP's presence on the state's political landscape.

AAP nominee Dharamvir Gandhi had defeated Singh's wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur from Patiala in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Singh spent the day with his supporters at his Janpath Road residence, receiving a host of visitors who flocked to congratulate him.

Although top state leaders Sunil Jakhar, Kewal Dhillon and others were present, his rivals Rajinder Bhattal and Brahm Mohinder were conspicuous by their absence.

Singh was appointed as the Punjab PCC chief and senior leader Ambika Soni made head of the Campaign Committee in a major reshuffle of the party's state unit announced yesterday ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls.


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