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New Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh Meets Rahul Gandhi

New Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh Meets Rahul Gandhi
Amarinder Singh will take over the charge at a public rally in Bathinda, the date for which would be announced "soon".
New Delhi: A day after being appointed Punjab Congress president, Amarinder Singh today met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi to thank him for the decision and discuss the plan of action in the state which goes to polls in 2017.

Mr Amarinder Singh, the deputy leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, was received by the Gandhi scion with a warm hug, signalling bonhomie between the two leaders. Mr Amarinder Singh had been critical of Mr Rahul Gandhi in the past but later he advocated for Mr Rahul Gandhi's elevation to the post of party president.

Mr Amarinder Singh will take over the charge at a public rally in Bathinda, the date for which would be announced "soon".

"I will take over as the PCC President at a public rally in Bathinda. The date of the rally will be announced soon," he said, after a meeting with senior party leaders.

Mr Amarinder Singh taking over the charge at a rally in Bathinda assumes significance as he had recently accepted a challenge of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who at a public rally had asked if "Congress has courage to hold a public rally here (Bathinda)".

"Yes, we will hold a public rally at the same venue and it will be bigger than that of yours," Mr Amarinder Singh had responded.

Bathinda in the bastion of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, from where Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's daughter-in-law Harsimrat Badal is the Lok Sabha MP.

Mr Amarinder Singh was appointed the state unit chief following a bitter battle over leadership with the outgoing chief Partap Singh Bajwa who, party sources said, is likely to be accommodated in the AICC at the central level.

Mr Amarinder Singh is also likely to meet party president Sonia Gandhi and has sought time from her. Today he spoke to Ms Sonia Gandhi on the phone and thanked her for the trust reposed in him to lead the Punjab unit, in what he described as a "challenging election" given AAP's presence on the state's political landscape.

AAP nominee Dharamvir Gandhi had defeated Mr Amarinder Singh's wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur from Patiala in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Mr Amarinder Singh spent the day with his supporters at his Janpath Road residence, receiving a host of visitors who flocked to congratulate him. Although top state leaders Sunil Jakhar, Kewal Dhillon and others were present, his rivals Rajinder Bhattal and Brahm Mohinder were conspicuous by their absence.

Mr Amarinder Singh was appointed as the Punjab PCC chief and senior leader Ambika Soni made head of the Campaign Committee in a major reshuffle of the party's state unit announced yesterday ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls.

Before taking over the charge, Mr Amarinder Singh will visit Amritsar and pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir and Swami Ramtirath on December 2.

Mr Amarinder Singh, a former chief minister, had held the charge of state Congress president twice before. Congress had won Punjab under his leadership in 2002 but lost the subsequent elections in 2007 and 2012.

The changes in the state unit heralded a new era in Punjab Congress, where the party is seeking to oust the ruling Akali-BJP combine and revive its electoral fortune nationally.

Party sources said Mr Bajwa, who resigned as the state unit chief two days ago, might be given responsibility at the national level, besides being included in the Punjab Congress Election Campaign Committee, headed by former Union minister Soni.

The Congress high command has tried to balance representation of various sections and factions in party committees, aiming at putting up a united face. In the coming days, a full Punjab Congress Committee will be announced accommodating more leaders and communities, the sources said.

Besides the appointments of Mr Amarinder Singh and Ms Ambika Soni, senior state Congress leader Lal Singh was made senior vice president.

Dalit leader Sadhu Singh Dharamsot was appointed vice-chairman of the Campaign Committee, while Ludhiana lawmaker Ravneet Singh Bittu, the grandson of former state chief minister Beant Singh, was appointed as the committee convener.

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NDTV in partnership with UBER is launching a sustained campaign 'Roshan Dilli'  to try and raise safety standards in India's capital, New Delhi.

Our focus is to try and improve lighting in public spaces in the city. Lighting is a key factor in shaping women's perceptions of safety

The initiative will provide a platform for all stakeholders to discuss our goal of improving safety standards, to start a conversation about safety of women in the country

It will also highlight various interventions and solutions that help to make women safe and put the spotlight on what more can be done.

The campaign will accentuate the need for Safety to be a shared responsibility

The need for gender sensitization and how law enforcement and civil society through checks and education can try and make women safer

We hope you will join us and help make New Delhi a safer city for women.

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