The Congress on Saturday rejected the resignation of Sunil Jakhar, who had resigned as the party’s 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 Mr. Jakhar to continue steering the party with his able guidance and astute leadership. When contacted, Ms. Kumari reiterated Mr. Jakhar has been asked to continue in the post.Mr. Jakhar had sent his resignation to then party president Rahul Gandhi, a day after the Lok Sabha election results were declared on May 23. He lost the Gurdaspur seat to Mr. Deol by a margin of 82,459 votes. Won bypoll in 2017He had won the seat in bypolls in October 2017. It had fallen vacant after the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna.Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had described Mr. Jakhar’s resignation as “totally unnecessary”. On Saturday, he welcomed the Congress decision, terming it in the party’s interest as the former MP is a “seasoned grassroots leader” in Punjab. He said Mr. Jakhar has done immense work on the ground and built a strong party cadre. In a communique, Ms. Kumari said Punjab Congress workers have “always drawn inspiration and confidence” from Mr. Jakhar’s “informed and compulsive style of leadership”. She asked Mr. 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. “The Congress and its leaders would keep raising their voice against the tyrannical policies of the oppressive [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi regime,” she added.