In the party reshuffle Sunday,Rahul Gandhi sought to send out strong signals by dropping controversial leaders like Jagdish Tytler from the AICC.
The Congress vice-presidents main focus appears to have been to develop an alternative set of leaders who could take on bigger responsibilities in time to come. To this end,he appointed 42 secretaries,most of whom are new and many of whom have a Youth Congress background.
Apart from Tytler who carries the 1984 anti-Sikh riots stigma and was recently linked with arms dealer Abhishek Verma the other big losers of the day were Oscar Fernandes,Chaudhary Birender Singh and Vilas Muttemwar. They were all dropped from the powerful Congress Working Committee (CWC) and lost their jobs as general secretaries. Fernandes and Muttemwar were,however,made permanent invitees to the CWC.
The big gainers were Shakeel Ahmed,Mohan Prak-ash,Gurudas Kamat and Luizinho Faleiro,all of whom were inducted into the CWC. The first three retained their posts as general secretaries.
While Ajay Maken and C P Joshi made it to CWC and were made general secretaries,both had to forego Cabinet posts in the bargain.
The other big gainer was Ambika Soni,who lost the I&B portfolio in the last Cabinet reshuffle. While Sonia Gandhi retained Ahmed Patel as her political secretary,Soni was made general secretary incharge of the Congress presidents office. Soni was the political secretary before Patel replaced her a decade ago. Soni has also held the charge of the Congress presidents office earlier. Rahuls imprint was also visible in the installation of his loyalists in powerful screening committees in the Assembly-poll bound states. He will continue to be in charge of all the frontal organisations,including the youth and students wings.
Many leaders from the Youth Congress found a place in his scheme of things. Suraj Hegde,who oversaw Youth Congress elections in Tamil Nadu,was made AICC secretary attached to Rahul himself. Prakash Joshi,who was also an IYC election commissioner,and Sanjay Kapoor who was recently made one of the zonal in charges in Uttar Pradesh too were made secretaries.
The other secretaries from the youth brigade include Paresh Dhanani from Uttar Pradesh,Subhankar Sarkar from West Bengal,A Chella Kumar from Tamil Nadu. Some of the young MLAs from states,like Geetashree Oraon from Jharkhand,Mainul Haque from West Bengal,Balram Bacchan from Madhya Pradesh and Rakesh Kalia from Himachal Pradesh,too have found a place in the team,which will lead the battle for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In fact,sources said the average age of those in the CWC after the reshuffle is 52.
Tytler,who was in charge of Orissa,and Singh who was in charge of Delhi on the other hand find no place in the new team. Gulchain Singh Charak,who faced allegations over ticket distribution in the Assembly elections in Punjab,was dropped as general secretary and has found no place in the new set-up.
Jagmeet Singh Brar and S C Jamir too were dropped from the CWC permanent invitee list. Former Punjab chief minister Amrinder Singh was made a permanent invitee to the CWC.
D R Shandil,who has become a minister in Himachal Pradesh,was dropped from the CWC and as general secretary. Rajya Sabha MP Mohsina Kidwai,sources said,has opted out of organisational responsibilities citing health problems and age-related problems. She was a general secretary and has been retained as a permanent invitee to the CWC.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was relieved of organisational responsibilities. He was in charge of key states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Priya Dutt bagged the significant responsibility of assisting Maken,who has been entrusted with the newly created Communication,Publicity and Publication Wing,which will now include the media department of the party.
After Karnataka,Congress expects Mistry to deliver in UP
AHMEDABAD: The appointment of Congress general secretary Madhusudan Mistry as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2014 general election is a move to counter Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modis aide Amit Shah. Shah is BJPs in-charge of the crucial state. AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi has also assigned him the task of touring the country and get a feedback from grassroots level workers about probable candidates for the general election. He will also be in-charge of the partys central election committee.
Mistry,who was in-charge of Karnataka before the UP assignment,is considered to be the brain behind the Congress win in the state.
It was under the stewardship of Mistry during the 2012 Assembly polls in Gujarat that the results in his Sabarkantha district showed a distinctive victory while elsewhere the Congress was defeated badly. Mistry is a former MP from Sabarkantha.
Another reason why the Congress assigned him the latest job is that Mistry belongs to an OBC. ENS