SLAMMING the Opposition for kicking up a row over the appointment of convicted Himachal Pradesh Asha Kumari as party’s Punjab Affairs Incharge, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh Monday said Kumari will prove to be an asset for the party in Punjab.
He also said the appointment had his stamp of approval.
The PPCC chief said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had contacted him several days ago for his feedback on the Congress MLA from Dalhousie, and he had replied that Kumari was “a very capable person and was a perfectly fine choice”
“I know her for long. She will prove to be an asset for the party,” Amarinder told The Indian Express Monday.
Kumari succeeds Kamal Nath who recently quit the post in the wake of uproar by BJP, SAD and AAP over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Without stating that elections were near, Amarinder said Opposition parties were “unnecessarily” raising the issue of Kumari’s appointment at a “politically opportune time”.
“She (Kumari) is also secretary of Congress’ Haryana Affairs. Why have Shiromani Akali Dal or any other Opposition party never objected to her appointment in Haryana,” Amarinder asked.
He said the Indian National Lok Dal and Chautala family, which is close to Badal family, have never raised the issue in Haryana.
“It is a classic case of kettle calling the pot black” as Amarinder lambasted the Akalis, BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party leaders for their “double standards”.
Amarinder said “seven AAP MLAs are in jail for serious criminal charges ranging from corruption to outraging the modesty of women”.
He questioned SAD and BJP as to how could the two parties question the appointment of Asha Kumari when BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose conviction was stayed by the Supreme Court, has been nominated (to Rajya Sabha).
Lashing out at SAD, he said “(Akali leader) Tota Singh has been convicted for corruption and the president of the women’s wing of his party Bibi Jagir Kaur stands convicted in a more heineous crime, that of the disappearance of her own daughter.”
Referring to the case pending against Kumari, Amarinder said her conviction had been stayed by the High Court and the legal proceedings were ongoing — as in the case of BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.
“While the courts are yet to pronounce the final judgment in the matter, our opposition leaders are ready to pronounce her guilty,” he said.
SAD, AAP continue with their tirade
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Monday asked the Congress to apologise to Punjabis for “knowingly foisting on them a tainted leader who had been convicting for grabbing land”.
In a statement, SAD leader and Union minister for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the people of Punjab, who had earlier protested in anger at the appointment of Kamal Nath as incharge of Punjab “due to his involvement in the 1984 anti- Sikh genocide”, were now feeling humiliated after the appointment of Kumari as the state incharge now. “The people are asking if the Congress does not have even one clean leader in its midst,” she added.
She said it appeared the party of scams and scamsters was running short of clean persons to head the Punjab unit. She said the recent developments were indicative of the state of affairs in the Congress “as it seemed no senior leader was ready to head its Punjab unit”.
AAP Punjab Affairs incharge Sanjay Singh said in Chandigarh that the recent developments clearly revealed that the “condition of Congress was very bad”. “First Kamal Nath had to go back. Asha Kumari too will not prove any good for the party,” said Sanjay Singh.