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Sonia reorganises party for polls

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | January 19, 2004 18:54 IST

In a major shake-up ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday divested general secretary Ambika Soni of the charge of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, dropped general secretary Nawal Kishore Sharma from her team and appointed former chief ministers Digvijay Singh and Ashok Gehlot as special invitees to the party's powerful working committee.

Two secretaries were also appointed and five more special invitees inducted into the working committee in the first such exercise after the party's debacle in three states in last year's assembly elections.

The reshuffle was undertaken to tone up the party ahead of the parliamentary elections, general secretary Oscar Fernandes told reporters in New Delhi.
Digvijay Singh, under whose leadership the party lost the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, had announced publicly that he would not hold any party post for ten years.

He may now have to change his mind. Sonia Gandhi has put him in charge of Assam and Orissa, while Gehlot has been given Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Asked if Singh would accept his new responsibilities, Fernandes said it is the wish of the Congress president.

Soni, who was in charge of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has now been asked to look after Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal. She will continue to head the party's media department.

The other five nominated to the working committee were Chaudhary Virendra Singh (Haryana), Prithviraj Chavan (Maharashtra), Priyaranjan Dasmunsi (West Bengal), Ramesh Chennithala (Kerala) and Balram Jakhar (Punjab).

Former Orissa PCC chief Sharat Patnaik and K B Krishnamurthy, a Rajya Sabha member, have been made AICC

While Ahmed Patel will continue to be the political secretary to Gandhi, Moti Lal Vora, who has been appointed president of the Chhattisgarh Congress Committee, will continue to be the AICC treasurer.

R K Dhavan, who was in charge of Bihar and Jharkhand, now gets additional charge of Haryana. Kamal Nath, who was in charge of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, West Bengal and Orissa, has been divested of Orissa.

Uttar Pradesh has been assigned to Haryana leader, Chaudhary Virender Singh, while Vayalar Ravi and G N Azad will continue to be at the helm in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh respectively.

With PTI inputs


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