All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Asha Kumari has been appointed the party in-charge for Punjab, months ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in the state. She succeeds Kamal Nath, who was forced to step after heavy criticism by the AAP and Shiromani Akali Dal, because of his alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots (indiatoday), that were followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

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Asha Kumari is in Delhi at a meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi as you read this, but if the objective of the party was to avoid further controversy, (Hindu) that is certainly not turning out to be the case. And this is why.

Hailing from Madhya Pradesh and married into the erstwhile royal family of Chamba, Asha Kumari was convicted on February 26 this year by the Chamba court of Himachal Pradesh in a 60 acre land grabbing case, the charges of which were framed in 2012 by the trial court. The year long sentence and a fine of Rs.8000 pronounced were however suspended by the High Court. She is currently out on bail. Five-time MLA and two time minister from Himachal Pradesh, she is currently serving from the Dalhousie constituency. She served as the education minister for the state from 2003-2005.

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In the aftermath of the heavy losses suffered by the party in Kerala and Assam, the 2017 assembly elections seem to have brought Congress under a lot of pressure. They can be seen revamping every aspect of their political image. They have gone to the extent of getting Prashant Kishor on board for their political strategy. He is the same man who strategized the Prime Ministerial election campaign of  Narendra Modi, and no doubt the Congress is hoping he will help the party gather some momentum for the next round of assembly elections.

Feature Image Credit: The Hindu

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