It seems the congress party can’t stop courting controversy when it comes to appointing its party-in-charge for poll-bound Punjab. After facing a serious backlash for the appointment of senior party leader Kamal Nath for the position, the party has now appointed land-grab convict, Asha Kumari for the post. The decision has sparked fresh controversy. Kumari met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence and dismissed the charges against her.
Criticising the Congress’s choice, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from the state Jarnail Singh said: “By appointing Asha Kumari as Punjab incharge, Congress party has proved they are not serious about getting rid of corruption in the state. After tainted Kamal Nath, her appointment shows Congress is short of clean leaders.”
A five-time MLA from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh and former state education minister, Asha Kumari was given one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 8,000 by a Chamba court in February this year for illegally transferring 60 bighas of forest land belonging to the government in the name of her husband, Brijender Singh, 18 years ago. She was however granted bail. In March, the court suspended her sentence and gave her a year to appeal. The matter is still pending in the court.
Talking to Indian Express, Kumari also expressed surprise over her appointment for the post even though the party leadership had conveyed its decision to her two days before making the decision.
She said: “I was quietly sobbing in the courtroom [in February] while my phone kept ringing. Relatives and friends were calling me about a news flash that had mentioned three years in jail. I thought I was finished.”
Earlier, Nath had to resign from the position of AICC in-charge of Punjab just days after his appointment following an uproar from the opposition parties for his alleged role in 1984 anti-sikh riots in Delhi.
Asha Kumari, is currently AICC secretary in charge of Haryana, will continue to handle the role apart from now looking after election-bound Punjab.