The Congress, which will name its election campaign committee for Uttar Pradesh very soon, has also decided to name its new PCC chief replacing Nirmal Khatri,who is expected to be given some alternative responsibility.
A former MP, Khatri was named UP Congress chief in October 2012, after party failed to make a mark in Assembly elections. During the “courtesy call” he made on AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, Khatri had made it clear that it will be difficult for him to continue in the capacity of PCC chief any longer, sources said. Khatri, however, will be continue to play a role in the election process as he has part of the exercise undertaken for selection of probable candidates and is well versed with the party structure, they added.
As for the the new PCC chief, sources said that poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s demand for a Brahmin face is set to be given priority and names of two leaders from Varanasi — former MP Rajesh Mishra and former MLC Rajesh Pati Tripathi — was on the top consideration. Tripathi was in January this year appointed the state-level election in-charge for UP. Some leaders are supporting candidature of Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari. Along with these Brahmin leaders, party has considered the name of former MP Rajaram Pal (OBC) and P L Punia (Dalit).
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“One thing is confirmed that PCC chief will be changed when the other big announcements are made soon. There are four to five names under consideration. The final name will be decided depending upon the local calculations,” said a senior party leader.
The Congress, meanwhile, has decided not to make any other major changes in the teams at the district level, which are largely expected to remain as it is with minor changes. “Usually, new state president forms his or her own team but there is very less time left for the elections. The party cannot afford changes from grass-root to the top thus new president will be expected to work with the existing team with some minor changes,” said a party leader.