New Delhi: Nearly 10 days after veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath resigned as the general secretary in charge of Punjab, the party has named Asha Kumari, secretary in the All India Congress Committee (AICC), as interim in-charge of the state.

The appointment of Kumari, a four-time MLA, is also not without controversy as she was recently convicted in a land grab case.

While there was no official release regarding Kumari’s appointment, at least two senior leaders in the party confirmed that it was an “interim measure" and that the party would eventually appoint a general secretary in charge in the state which goes to poll in less than an year. The general secretary is higher in hierarchy in Congress’ organisational structure followed by an in charge in special cases and then a secretary.

“We believe this is a temporary arrangement and an actual replacement of Nath will take place by appointing a general secretary in charge. Punjab is a poll-bound state and the top leadership felt that someone should be given the charge, if at least for the time being,’’ a senior leader from Punjab said requesting anonymity.

Nath had to step down following criticism by opposition parties for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Kumari was sentenced to one year in jail by a Chamba court in February earlier this year and is currently out on bail, according to a Press Trust of India report.

“Her role in the land grab case is already being raised but this likely is an interim arrangement. She was the secretary in-charge of Haryana but she will cease to be so now because she will not be able to hold dual responsibility,’’ another leader added.

The Congress party is trying to come back to power after a decade in Punjab and former chief minister Amarinder Singh is the face of party’s election campaign.

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