New Delhi/Chandigarh, April 26
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today approved the “removal” of former Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar and former Union Food Minister KV Thomas from “all party posts” in view of complaints of “anti-party activities” against them.
Bid to belittle me
The way the party leadership has handled my case, they have belittled me and shown me in a bad light. Such an attitude is not acceptable. — Sunil Jakhar, Former PCC Chief
Sonia’s approval came on Tuesday after the Congress disciplinary committee, in a meeting earlier, according to sources, recommended suspension of Jakhar for two years apart from removing him from party posts.
The Congress chief, however, is learnt to have not favoured a harsh punishment and only approved removal of the two leaders from party posts. “In view of the seniority of Jakhar and Thomas, it has been decided that the two will be removed from the party positions.
Harsh action has not been taken against them since they are both veteran leaders, but some action was needed,” Tariq Anwar, a member of the Congress disciplinary committee, told The Tribune today. Asked to comment on what will Jakhar be removed from when he held no post, Anwar said, “He will not hold any official position at least in the near future.”
Sonia also approved a three-year suspension for five Meghalaya MLAs for “helping” the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state. Reacting to the day’s developments, Jakhar “wished the party good luck.”
He said, “The way the party leadership has handled my case, they have belittled me and shown me in a poor light. Such an attitude is not acceptable. I have already wished the party good luck. Moreover, I do not hold any position in the party.”
Jakhar’s aides said the former Punjab Congress chief had been very upset over the issuance of a show-cause notice to him. Jakhar had not replied to the notice.
The complaint against Jakhar pertained to his remarks on Punjab election eve that “he got the maximum 42 MLA votes in the race for Punjab chief ministership after Capt Amarinder Singh was removed. Sukhjinder Randhawa got 16, Charanjit Singh Channi, the Congress’ pick for the post two votes, Navjot Sidhu six and Preneet Kaur 12.” The Congress believed that the remarks alienated the Hindu electorate.
Thomas was issued the notice for attending a CPM conference in Kerala despite Sonia Gandhi asking the state leaders not to do so. Thomas is currently member of the Kerala Congress political affairs committee and executive committee of the state unit.
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