Days after several top Congress leaders wrote a letter seeking a major overhaul of the party, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Friday dropped four AICC general secretaries and reconstituted the Congress Working Committee, the apex decision-making body of the party.
While Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni and Mallikarjun Kharge were replaced as AICC general secretaries, P Chidambaram, Randeep Surjewala, Tariq Anwar and Jitendra Singh were made regular members of the revamped CWC.
These four new members in the CWC will replace Goa veteran Luizinho Faleiro, who was also removed as AICC general secretary, Vora, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Tamradhwaj Sahu. While Chowdhury was made a permanent invitee of CWC, the other three were dropped. Interestingly, Chowdhury was earlier a regular member of the CWC.
Gandhi also restructured the central election authority of the party, with Madhusudan Mistry being appointed as the new chairman. Rajesh Misra, Krishna Byre Gowda, S Jothimani and Arvinder Singh Lovely were made its members. This restructuring assumes importance as it is the CEA which will elect the new Congress president.
The 73-year-old leader also formed a six-member special committee to assist her in organisational matters. The special committee will have AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala as its members.
Rahul effect prominent
The organisational changes bore the stamp of Rahul Gandhi, with a majority of the new appointees known to be his close aides, including general secretaries Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Jitendra Singh and K C Venugopal.
Some of the young leaders considered close to him were given key organisational roles as in-charge of various states and nominated in the reconstituted CWC as permanent and special invitees.
Surjewala, currently in-charge of the AICC communications department, was also made the general secretary in charge for Congress in Karnataka.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh; former Union ministers Jairam Ramesh and Salman Khurshid, senior leader Avinash Pande were made permanment invitees to the CWC. Leaders like Pramod Tiwari, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Rajeev Shukla, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Manickam Tagore, HK Patil, Devender Yadav, Vivek Bansal, Manish Chatrath, Kuljit Nagra and Bhakta Charan Das were also been made permanent invitees to the CWC.
The Group of 23
From the 'Group of 23' leaders, who wrote a letter to Gandhi seeking Congress' overhaul, Azad and Sharma would continue to be regular members of the CWC.
Uttar Pradesh's young turk and Rahul confidant Jitin Prasada would now be a permanent invitee to CWC. Earlier, he was a special invitee. Prasada was also made in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Wasnik, another leader who was among the letter-writers, was made AICC general secretary in-charge for Madhya Pradesh. Delhi leader Lovely, also from the 'Group of 23', was accommodated as a member of the CEA.
Anugrah Narayan Singh, Asha Kumari, Gaurav Gogoi and Ram Chandra Khuntia were among those dropped by the Congress as in-charge for states.
There was no change in the role of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who will now be AICC general secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh. She was earlier general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, but was practically taking care of the entire state after Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (West), quit and joined the BJP.
The new AICC general secretaries, included Harish Rawat for Punjab, Oomen Chandy for Andhra Pradesh, Tariq Anwar for Kerala and Lakshadweep, Jitendra Singh for Assam, Maken for Rajasthan and KC Vengopal for Organisation.
While Bansal was made in-charge of AICC administration, Rajni Patil would oversee party affairs in Jammu & Kashmir. Veteran leader PL Punia would oversee Chhattisgarh, former Union minister RPN Singh would be in-charge for Jharkhand), Gujarat strongman Shaktisinh Gohil would be responsibility for Delhi and poll-bound Bihar. Maharashtra's young turk Rajeev Satav would be the new in-charge for Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, while former Union minister Rajeev Shukla would now handle Himachal Pradesh.
Dinesh Gundu Rao (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa), Manickam Tagore (Telangana), Chellakumar (Odisha), HK Patil (Maharashtra), Devender Yadav (Uttarakhand), Vivek Bansal (Haryana), Manish Chatrath (Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya), Bhakta Charan Das (Mizoram and Manipur) and Kuljit Singh Nagra (Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura) were the other appointments for the states.