Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been elevated to the highest decision-making body of the Congress. He has been inducted as a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC), having a bigger role and say in the party's core group at the national level. AICC president Sonia Gandhi issued the orders on Sunday.
Two months ago, he was removed from the post of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president.
Political observers say the party has given him the respect he deserves as it is for the first time that a leader from Punjab has become a permanent invitee to the CWC.
Amarinder, 71, is considered close to the AICC president and his elevation proves the point.
Reacting to his appointment, Amarinder said he felt honoured and privileged for having been inducted as a permanent invitee to CWC that includes Sonia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as members.
"I will try to come up to the expectations of the Congress president and the vice-president, both of whom have always reposed faith in me," Amarinder said in a press note.
However, another leader from Punjab, Jagmeet Brar, was removed from the post of CWC member.
Mohinder Singh Kaypee has been inducted as a special invitee to the CWC, while Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Singh Nagra and Batala MLA Ashwani Sekhri have been included as secretaries.
"My appointment is purely on the basis of hard work," Nagra said, adding that strength was being infused into the party for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Ambika Soni, who also belongs to Punjab, comes back as general secretary and will look after the Congress president's office (CPO), apart from the hill states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
She returns to the post of CPO after seven years, having held its charge from 2000 to 2006. Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira welcomed the changes in the party structure.
Meanwhile, Shakeel Ahmed, a senior leader from Bihar and a prominent Muslim face of the party, has been named AICC general secretary and will look after party affairs in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.