Simmering tensions in the Punjab Congress may lead to another big change by the party with Rajasthan minister Harish Chaudhary likely to replace former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat as the Punjab affairs in-charge.
Sources said Rawat, too, has requested to be relieved of Punjab duties to focus on Uttarakhand assembly elections due next year. The senior leader is the party’s biggest hope in the hill state where, the high command feels, frequent chief ministerial changes by the BJP have given it a good shot at power.
His likely replacement, Harish Chaudhary, proved his mettle during the ongoing power tussle in Punjab with his tactful handling of the situation to avert a bigger crisis, raising his stock with the Gandhi family.
In recent days, he has emerged as the link between Rahul Gandhi and the local leadership in Punjab, including Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Sources said he is likely to continue playing a key role in coordination between the government and the party.
Chaudhary, currently the revenue minister in Rajasthan, had earlier served as Punjab in-charge during the 2017 Assembly elections.
Sources said Harish Rawat is expected to be in Chandigarh as early as Saturday to give final touches to the truce reached with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose resignation was rejected by the party high command. Rawat is then expected to hand over the reins to Harish Chaudhary.
Rawat had taken over the charge last year from Asha Kumari. Though initially tasked with bridging the rift between ousted CM Amarinder Singh and Sidhu, Rawat’s presence was seen as a boost to the anti-Amarinder camp.
With inputs from News18