Ambika Soni to be next Punjab Congress president?

New Delhi, Sept 3: A leadership change in Punjab unit of Congress appears to be on the cards and the decision is likely, sources said. AICC general Secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is in charge of party affairs in the state, has been called back to Delhi ahead of a possible announcement on restructuring the state unit.

The party top brass has been holding hectic deliberations with state leaders for the past few days for restructuring the party and resolving the leadership row in the faction-ridden PPCC.

These discussions include meetings that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi has held with former chief minister Amarinder Singh, PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa and former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, among others.

Among the names doing the rounds to head the state unit replacing Bajwa, are those of senior Congress leader Ambika Soni, and former chief minister Amarinder is not ruled out either. Sources say that Bajwa would also be entrusted with a responsibility in order to maintain social balance.

The Congress has lost twice to ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine in the state and is now trying to put its house in order to put up a united fight against the ruling alliance in the state and oust it.

Sources indicated that the restructuring plan would be announced soon, as Sonia and Rahul have already met all senior leaders from the state and held lengthy deliberations on restructuring the party.

The Punjab Congress has been a divided lot ever since it lost two successive elections in the state to the ruling Akali-BJP combine and the high command is keen to wrest power in the state by ousting the ruling alliance.

Bajwa had replaced Amarinder as party chief after the last loss. With the state set to go to polls in early 2017, the demand for replacing Bajwa has grown louder and the party leadership is grappling with the issue for almost a year now. Amarinder has been seeking his replacement and so is a large section of state leaders.

However, the series of dharnas initiated by the PCC against the ruling state government has seen various state leaders participating in them and coming together under one platform. Amarinder’s rallies have also evoked an encouraging response with a majority of sitting MLAs attending them.