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Asha Kumari says she has Sonia’s mandate

At the centre of a controversy over her conviction in a land grab case, an unfazed Congress secretary in-charge of Punjab Asha Kumari on Monday rejected demands for her resignation, asserting she had party chief Sonia Gandhi’s ‘full mandate’.

Asha Kumari says she has Sonia’s mandate
Asha Kumari

New Delhi

Amid reports that her appointment as secretary in-charge of Punjab has left the Congress embarrassed, Kumari met Sonia and accused BJP, AAP and Shiromani Akali Dal of unnecessarily making an issue out of a ‘non-issue’. 

“I am sorry, I cannot oblige them,” she told reporters, rejecting calls for her resignation. 

“I have been given full mandate by the Congress president and vice president to work for the party in Punjab,” she said after her meeting. The appointment of Asha Kumari, a niece of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and four-term MLA from Dalhousie, on Sunday, had kicked up a storm after it emerged that she had been convicted in a land grab case in which she had allegedly transferred forest land to her husband. She was sentenced to a year in jail but is currently out on bail. 

The information, coming as it did close on the heels of senior Congress leader Kamal Nath relinquishing the post of general secretary in-charge of Punjab, over allegations of his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, was reported to have caused embarrassment to the party. 

BJP, AAP and SAD were quick to assail the Congress leadership for appointing Kumari the secretary in-charge of the party in Punjab which will have Assembly polls next year, saying the party was not serious about the state.

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