Sunil Jakhar had resigned as Punjab Congress chief after losing to BJP's Sunny Deol. (PTI file)
The Congress on Saturday rejected the resignation of Sunil Jakhar, who had resigned as Punjab chief after losing to BJP's Sunny Deol on Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat, saying he should continue to steer the grand old party with his "astute leadership". "You have submitted your resignation as President, Punjab PCC. Congress party does not accept your resignation and you are expected to carry on the good work as usual," a letter issued by Congress in-charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari said.
She also asked Jakhar to continue steering the party with his able guidance and astute leadership. When contacted, Kumari reiterated Jakhar has been asked to continue in the post.
Jakhar had sent his resignation to then party president Rahul Gandhi, a day after 2019 Lok Sabha election results were declared on May 23.
Jakhar lost the Gurdaspur seat to actor-politician Deol by a margin of 82,459 votes. He had won the seat in by-polls in October 2017. It had fallen vacant after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had described Jakhar's resignation as "totally unnecessary".
On Saturday, Singh welcomed the Congress decision, terming it in the party's interest as Jakhar is a seasoned grassroots leader in Punjab. He said Jakhar has done immense work on the ground and built a strong party cadre.
In a communique, Kumari said Punjab Congress workers have "always drawn inspiration and confidence" from Jakhar's "informed and compulsive style of leadership."
She asked Jakhar to be the voice of the party in taking the liberal and secular credentials of the grand old party to each and every door.
"Congress and its leaders would keep raising their voice against the tyrannical policies of the oppressive Modi regime," she added.