New Delhi: Congress on Sunday appointed party secretary Asha Kumari as the AICC in-charge of Punjab in place of Kamal Nath, who had resigned following an uproar by BJP, SAD and AAP over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Kumari, who is an MLA from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh, has served in various capacities in the party. She is a relatively a lesser known face compared to Nath who was a cabinet minister in the previous UPA government.
Her appointment is apparently aimed at avoiding any controversy ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab next year.
The lawmaker from Himachal Pradesh had been convicted in a land grab case in February and is currently out on bail.
A former state education minister, Asha Kumari had been accused of illegally transferring 60 bighas of forest land belonging to the government in the name of her husband, Brijender Singh, 18 years ago. Singh belonged to the royal family of Chamba.
Party sources had earlier said that in Punjab the leadership could make a temporary appointment of an existing general secretary till a decision is taken on induction of new leaders in the AICC secretariat.
Nath had relinquished on June 15 the charge of Punjab after BJP, SAD and AAP stepped up their attack on the party over the appointment.
He has refuted the allegations against him. Nath has said that he was "hurt" by the developments wherein an "unnecessary controversy" has been created around the "tragic" 1984 riots.