The “secret” appointment of Kittu Grewal, a 2012 Adampur assembly election rebel, as Punjab Pradesh Mahila Congress president has stunned the camps of both state party president Partap Bajwa and Amritsar parliamentarian Captain Amarinder Singh.
It has also highlighted the lack of coordination among the party’s state and the central leadership. On Wednesday, Kittu, who was expelled from the party in 2012 for her contesting as independent candidate, no matter that she had won only around 500 votes, flashed a letter of appointment signed by party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi but when Bajwa was asked if the PPCC had been consulted, he avoided making a direct reply.
“The appointment is done by party high command independently, as the Mahila Congress is an independent wing,” said Bajwa, adding: “The PPCC has nothing to do with it. I am not aware of the appointment fully. Rest, I cannot comment, as I don’t want to get into any controversy.”
The letter shows that Kittu was appointment on September 19, along with the Mahila Congress presidents for Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. Generally, the prestigious appointments are announced to the media at the AICC (All-India Congress Committee) headquarters or the state party office, but the secret manner of this has raised many eyebrows.
Sources said even leaders from the camp of former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh are miffed by the appointment of a rebel to a prestigious post. All-India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oja defended the appointment, saying Kittu had not been expelled after her contesting as independent.
“From the Adampur reserved seat, she did file nomination as independent, but after the deadline for withdrawal, the local leaders persuaded her to pull out of the race, even thought her name appeared on the ballot paper,” said Oja.
When HT verified from Satnam Kainth, losing Congress candidate from Adampur in 2012, he said Kittu had worked against the party and even filed police complaints against Congress workers during the campaign. “One of these complaints against former legislator Kamaljeet Lali was settled at the Adampur police station on the voting day,” said Kainth.
As the news of the appointment spread a few days ago, many state Mahila Congress office-bearers revolted on Monday and asked the party high command to reconsider. However, Kittu claimed she had the support of everyone. “They people who oppose me do so because I belong to the Valmiki (oppressed) community,” she said.