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Rediff.com  » News » After back to back poll drubbing, reshuffle begins in Congress

After back to back poll drubbing, reshuffle begins in Congress

May 05, 2017 17:09 IST

Among the 17 new AICC secretaries named so far, 10 are below 50 years of age, indicating the generational change in the 132-year-old Congress being brought in by 47-year-old Rahul, reports Amit Agnihotri.

The process of change in the Congress, kicked off by the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi last week, is slowly but surely getting a firm footing as more younger leaders are being given key roles in the grand old party.

There was a strong demand from within for changes in the party since the 2014 national poll loss but it peaked after the recent assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur which the Congress lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Punjab was the only bright spot.

Continuing with changes announced in Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka, All India Congress Committee secretary Avinash Pande, who was assisting veteran C P Joshi in Assam, was promoted as general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, replacing senior leader Gurudas Kamat.

Vivek Bansal, Qazi Mohd Nizamuddin, Devendra Yadav and Tarun Kumar will assist Pande as the new AICC secretaries.

Kamat, who is keen to focus on the 2019 national elections and wants to devote more time in his home town Mumbai, stands relieved from the charges of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Former minister Sunil Jakhar replaced Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh as the latter is now chief minister. Jakhar was leader of the Congress legislators in the Punjab assembly.

Sunil, son of Congress veteran Balram Jakhar, who worked closely with former prime minister Indira Gandhi, lost assembly poll from Abohar. It remains to be seen how Amarinder and Sunil now get along as Rahul wants to charter a new course in the Punjab.

Four-time legislator Pritam Singh, who was a minister in the Harish Rawat government, replaced Uttarakhand unit chief Kishore Upadhyay following the party's drubbing in the recent assembly elections. The BJP had won 57 of the 70 assembly seats in Uttarakhand, reducing the ruling Congress to dismal 11 seats.

Among the 17 new AICC secretaries named so far, 10 are below 50 years of age, indicating the generational change in the 132-year-old Congress being brought in by 47-year-old Rahul.

Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha has replaced K C Mittal as the Chairman of the AICC legal affairs department. Tankha played a key role in unearthing the Vyapam recruitment scam in Madhya Pardesh flagged by senior leader Digvijaya Singh to target Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Facing a volley of queries, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Rahul was seized of the need to change the party but was doing it in a phased manner. Besides Rajasthan, which will have assembly polls in 2018, the Congress vice-president was focused on Himachal Pradesh, where assembly polls are due by year end, as well, said Surjewala.

The party changes reflect a well thought out action plan, placing seniors as general secretaries and brining in youngsters as secretaries, to harness their youthful energy, said Surjewala pointing out that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had appointed 33 year old Ashok Gehlot as Rajasthan unit chief but the veteran, now 66, has been deployed to steer the party in poll-bound Gujarat.

Amit Agnihotri
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