The Congress high command on Tuesday appointed Pratap Singh Bajwa as the new chief of its Punjab unit, replacing Capt Amarinder Singh.
Bajwa, the party MP from Gurdaspur, has replaced Amarinder, Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.
Amarinder, a former chief minister,
was under a cloud after the Congress failed to dislodge the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the January 2012 elections. The Congress recently lost the Moga bypoll, held after its sitting legislator resigned and joined the SAD.
In a related development, Congress MP Harish Choudhary has been appointed national secretary of the All India Congress Committee and given charge of party affairs in Punjab. Choudhary is the MP from Rajasthan's Barmer.
Both decisions were taken late in the evening by the party high command before being announced publicly by the spokesman.
Bajwa, who was born in Qadian town of Gurdaspur district in 1957, came into politics in 1978 after completing his graduation from DAV College, Chandigarh. He was straightaway appointed president of the Gurdaspur district unit. In 1980, he also went on to complete LLB from Dehradun.
He was elected MLA in 1992, 2002 and 2007 from his home constituency Qadian. In 2009, he was asked to contest for the Lok Sabha seat from Gurdaspur. He defeated three-time MP and film star Vinod Khanna from the parliamentary seat.
Bajwa has also served as the minister under the leadership of four chief ministers, including late Beant Singh, late Harcharan Singh Brar, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh.
Immediately after his appointment, Bajwa told Hindustan Times that his first priority would be to bring the entire Congress in the state on one platform.