Congress forms Punjab poll panels: Ambika Soni to head coordination, Sunil Jakhar is campaign chief

Maken to chair candidate screening committee, Jakhar also included in the screening panel; Bajwa to chair the manifesto panel

Congress forms Punjab poll panels: Ambika Soni to head coordination, Sunil Jakhar is campaign chief

Ambika Soni. File photo

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6

The Congress on Monday sounded the poll bugle for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections announcing the appointment of veteran leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ambika Soni as chairperson of the election coordination committee and naming former state chief Sunil Jakhar the head of the campaign panel in the state.

Announcing four election panels—coordination committee, campaign committee, manifesto committee and screening committee today, party president Sonia Gandhi signalled the Congress readiness for the elections, which are all set to be multi-cornered.

Gandhi has also appointed AICC general secretary for Rajasthan Ajay Maken the chairperson of the party’s screening committee for the Punjab elections. 

Maken will be assisted by former Youth Congress chief Chandan Yadav and IYC secretary in-charge Krishna Allavaru as committee members in candidate short-listing.

The ex officio members of the screening committee will be AICC in-charge for Punjab Harish Choudhary, Punjab Congress president Navjot Sidhu, CM Charanjit Singh Channi, campaign committee chairman Sunil Jakhar and all AICC secretaries in-charge of the state.

Rajya Sabha MP and former PCC chief Partap Bajwa will head the manifesto panel.

The appointments are significant and signal the Congress intention of reaching out to the Hindus—a segment currently seen as distant from the party which has consolidated its Scheduled Caste hold by naming Channi as chief minister when the buzz was favouring a Hindu leader.

Today’s appointments have three Hindus faces—Ambika Soni, Jakhar and Ajay Maken.

The inclusion of Jakhar in the election screening panel is important. The Congress hopes to strengthen its presence among the Hindus of Punjab with the Aam Aadmi Party wooing them actively.

Out of the 80 MLAs the Congress has, 13 are Hindus, the highest for all parties.

The Congress realises it must hold on to this segment to register a strong win in the state.

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