Just a year after naming them as regional heads in Uttar Pradesh,the Congress on Monday decided to drop 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 LS 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,Vire-ndra Chowdhery,Phoolwati Saini and Yogesh Dixit. Of these,Rainee was a zonal vice-president in outgoing set-up.
The change comes in the backdrop of complaints to the Congress leadership that the zonal presidents appointed earlier had failed to visit the places frequently and energise the party organisation at the ground level. 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.
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 LS members out of 80 in last parliamentary elections.