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UP Congress chief replaced

May 30, 2003 01:16 IST

Ten months after he was appointed president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, Arun Kumar Singh 'Munna' was replaced by another Thakur leader, Jagdambika Pal, on Thursday.

Pal's appointment did not come as a surprise.

Munna, who had been brought in by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with an eye on the upper caste Thakurs, had failed to find foot.

His leadership did not prove to be any less lacklustre that that of his predecessor Shree Prakash Jaiswal.

Despite his dynamic qualities Pal could never make it to the frontline, thanks to the emergence of other leaders from the Thakur community.

With a Veer Bahadur Singh, a Vishwanath Pratap Singh or a Sanjay Singh in the forefront of the UP Congress politics, Pal was always relegated to the second line.

The only time he shot into prominence was when the Congress breakaway group of the Loktantrik Congress Party propelled him as chief minister, albeit for the shortest ever tenure of three days, in 1995.

Those very people who had pushed him ahead cut short his stint.

Yet senior Congressmen regard the change as welcome. "At least he will be better than what we have seen over the past two years or so," remarked a Congress veteran. But he said, "Salman Khursheed would have perhaps been a better choice."

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow