Just a year after naming them as regional heads in Uttar Pradesh,the Congress on Monday decided to drop the eight high-profile zonal presidents in the state,including ministers of state R P N Singh and Jitin Prasada,and appoint local leaders in their place.
The other zonal presidents who have been removed are Lok Sabha member and chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes P L Punia,CWC member Rasheed Masood,Rajaram Pal and state leaders Vivek Singh,Anugrah Narayan Singh and Bijendra Singh.
The new zonal in-charges are legislators Pankaj Malik,Sanjay Kapoor,Lalitesh Pati Tripathi and Dr Muslim,former minister Deepak Kumar,former MLA Vinod Chowdhery,Digvijaya Singh and Bhagwati Chaudhary.
The new zonal coordinators are: Virendra Singh Guddu,MLA Dilnawaz,former minister Bansidhar Raj,Aslam Rainee,Chandra Shekhar Singh,Virendra Chowdhery,Phoolwati Saini and Yogesh Dixit. Of these,Rainee was a zonal vice-president in the outgoing set-up.
Sources in the party said non-performance of these leaders had made AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi unhappy,who had also given them ultimatum during the last review meeting in March . In the seven months,these leaders had failed to even complete the primary task given to them,which was re-organisation of district and city units along with frequent visits to their region.
The move to have zonal presidents and vice-presidents was part of Rahul Gandhis plan to tone up the party in Uttar Pradesh.
Some of the zonal presidents,however,contended that they were hardly left with any time and since the Lok Sabha elections are now nearing,most of them had begun focussing on their individual constituencies.
The leadership,they contended,appeared to have recognised the need to free them from the responsibility,especially given that the BSP and the SP have already announced a bulk of their Lok Sabha candidates who have got a headstart in their constituencies. From the new appointments,it is evident that they are those who will not be asked to contest Lok Sabha seats, a party functionary said.
Now the incomplete work would be completed by the new team. Soon,we would sit and sort out deadlines and future activities, said Congress state president Nirmal Khatri.
Along with the zonal in-charges and coordinators,Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also appointed 31 district Congress chiefs. Uttar Pradesh is politically important for the Congress as it sent 22 Lok Sabha members out of 80 in the last parliamentary elections.
12 districts get Muslim heads
In the list of 31 district and city presidents,as many as 12 districts have got Muslim presidents. Such districts and towns include mainly western UP areas like Mathura,Moradabad,Muzaffarnagar,Shamli,Saharanpur,Bulandshahr,Amroha etc. Other districts include Etawah,Deoria,Ambedkarnagar,Kaushambi and Balrampur. Sources in the party inform that the selection of these district and city heads has been directly approved by party high-command keeping upcoming Lok Sabha election in mind.