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AICC reshuffle expected soon, Digvijaya to replace Dwivedi?

By Renu Mittal
Last updated on: June 15, 2013 22:36 IST
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A reshuffle of the All India Congress Committee office bearers and the Union Cabinet is on the cards and is likely to take place soon, say highly-placed sources in the Congress. Renu Mittal reports.

A senior leader disclosed that the reshuffle was scheduled to be held on May 25 as the lists had been prepared, but because of the barbaric Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh where senior leaders of the party were gunned down, it was deferred and is to take place, possibly next week.

Ajay Maken on Saturday night resigned as a Union minister -- ahead of the reshuffle of the Council of Ministers and that of the All India Congress Committee -- expected next week.

AICC media chairman Janardhan Dwivedi is likely to demit office as the party chief spokesperson, with sources close to him saying that he has been the media chairman for six years, and he would like a change now.

There is also a perception that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi would like an articulate speaker to head this particular post.

Rahul had set up a committee for a quick and immediate response of issues raised by the opposition parties, but after a few meetings, the committee could not take off. This was because the day-to-day job is handled by the AICC media department and the committee could only be an in-house enterprise.

While the general consensus is that Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh is the right man for the job of media chairman, as he has a view on most issues and can take on the Bharatiya Janata Party actively, and is also active on the social networking sites, which the Congress is now keenly watching.

He also has a good equation with Rahul, which has become an important criterion in today’s Congress.

Another change on the cards is of AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik who is finally likely to divest charge of Rajasthan which he has held for the last eight years.

One of the names being mentioned is of Ambika Soni who is keen to make a comeback. She has told Congress president Sonia Gandhi she wants to come back to the party, but the latter was non-committal and is believed to have said that she has left the decisions regarding the organisation to Rahul.

It has been learnt that Soni has undertaken a dozen tours of Rajasthan in the recent past, and this has fuelled speculation about her comeback.

She was in-charge of Rajasthan the last time when state Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his government were defeated in the state, and Congressmen from the state are hopeful that history may not be repeated.

Another line of thinking is to make someone from the Jat community the general secretary in-charge and in this context the name of Chaudhary Birender Singh is doing the rounds. In addition, there is also talk that Sis Ram Ola, a senior Jat leader from Rajasthan may make a comeback to the Union Cabinet as a minister. He is at present the deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.

Sources say that Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has once again told Rahul that it must be a one-man-one-post, and that it becomes difficult to handle both party work and the job of a minister.

He has been saying this for some time but with the Congress stuck in Andhra on the Telenagana issue, any new general secretary would need to start from scratch.

Rahul wants more dynamic leaders inducted to re-energise the party in a number of states, and would like to bring in the younger lot with whom he can have a bigger comfort level.

But he has already realised that most of them do not have the experience to deliver particularly at a time when elections in various states and the Lok Sabha are around the corner, and the party would then need all the experience it has.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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