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Rahul gets in as a member of Jawahar Bhavan

By Renu Mittal
Last updated on: April 02, 2010 16:10 IST
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The Jawahar Bhavan Trust has been reshuffled.

Former Union ministers Arjun Singh, M L Fotedar and Mohsina Kidwai have retired as trustees.

Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi's political secretary, has relinquished the post of secretary to the trust; he remains a trustee.

Congress party Treasurer and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Motilal Vora is the trust's new secretary.

Rahul Gandhi has been inducted as a member of the trust; Union Minister and Congress General Secretary Mukul Wasnik has also been appointed a trustee.

Patel, one of the most powerful politicians in the country, has been associated with the trust since its inception. Congress party sources said, "Nothing more should be read in it (the changes in the trust). These are routine changes which take space every three years."

Rahul Gandhi had kept away from the trusts until now, most of which are headed by his mother, but in effect run by his sister Priyanka Vadhra. She is a member of almost all the trusts and foundations associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family. Sources say she manages the day-to-day affairs at the trusts and has a room at Jawahar Bhavan which she visits often. These days, the Bhavan is being refurbished under Patel's supervision,

A senior Congress leader said it is significant that Rahul has been brought in as a trustee as it indicated that he is now comfortable with the role assigned to him in the political arena.

Also of interest is Wasnik's presence; the Dalit MP from Maharashtra -- once the youngest minister in Rajiv Gandhi's government -- is seen as a rising star in the Congress party.

On Monday, at a convention in New Delhi, Wasnik was seen requesting Sonia Gandhi to impress upon Rahul to associate with the Seva Dal as he had done with the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India, the party's youth wings. The Seva Dal is the party's association of foot soldiers and volunteers.

Wasnik felt that Rahul's presence would give the Seva Dal a new lease of life. To this, the Congress president responded, 'Why don't you ask him yourself?'

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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