Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who till now officiated as Himachal Pradesh Congress president, was on Monday formally appointed on the post.
Sukhu, a two-time MLA, had led the state Youth Congress for 10 years from 1998 and the state National Students Union of India (NSUI) for six years from 1989.
The appointment of 48-year-old Sukhu has a clear imprint of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who is bringing the young leadership at the forefront of party politics with a long-term plan to strengthen the organisation.
The move came a day after 43-year-old Ashok Chaudhary was appointed Bihar Congress president, nearly two years after Mehboob Ali Kaiser had submitted his resignation following the party’s debacle in the 2010 assembly polls. However, he was then asked to continue on the post.
The two back-to-back appointments appeared to have set in motion the much-delayed organisational changes at the state level. Prior to these, Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa replaced Captain Amarinder Singh as Punjab unit chief.
However, uncertainty prevails in Gujarat, where Arjun Modhwadia had put in his papers after party’s poor performance in 2012 assembly polls, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura. The Mumbai Regional Congress Committee is headless since the resignation of Kripashankar Singh in February last year.
The immediate task for Sukhu would be to stem factionalism in the state Congress unit. The Congress is facing problem of plenty in Himachal Pradesh where many senior leaders are on warpath against each other. Maintaining a healthy equation with party veteran and chief minister Virbhadra Singh would also be a big challenge for him.