NEW DELHI: In a major organisational reshuffle, the Congress on Friday dropped Ghulam Nabi Azad, the senior-most among 23 letter writers, as AICC general secretary, and constituted a six member special committee — having a mix of both young and old leaders — to assist Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in running the party till a new president is elected.
The reshuffle comes days after a group of 23 leaders wrote to Sonia, seeking collective leadership and organisational elections, starting with the Congress Working Committee (CWC). But with the reconstitution of the CWC, there is little scope for elections to the party’s highest decision making body.
According to party sources, many of Team Rahul’s members have been suitably accommodated.
“In a balancing act, the Congress president ensured that dissenters remain part of the CWC but also sent a strong signal to them by ensuring that Azad and Sharma are kept out of the special committee. Though Wasnik, one of the letter writers, has been included in the team of six, he is unlikely to go against her close aide Ahmed Patel,” said a senior party leader.
Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi has reconstituted the Congress Working Committee as follows: pic.twitter.com/Fti9oYxJUr— Congress (@INCIndia) September 11, 2020
Others axed as AICC general secretaries include Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora, Luizinho Falerio and Mallikarjun Kharge.
But Soni has been included in the special committee along with Wasnik, Ahmed Patel, A K Antony, R S Surjewala and K C Venugopal. Both Venugopal and Surjewala are considered close to Rahul.
Azad and two other letter writers, Anand Sharma and Wasnik, continue to remain part of the CWC. Jitin Prasada, another member of the group of 23, has been given the responsibility of West Bengal that goes to the polls next year and has been made a permanent invitee to CWC, a promotion from his special invitee position earlier.
Wasnik has also been made in charge of Madhya Pradesh. According to sources, changes have been made keeping in mind that Azad, Sharma and a few others made public statements after the CWC meeting despite directives not to do so.
PC and Surjewala among new entrants to top body
The new entrants to CWC as regular members include P Chidambaram, Randeep Surjewala, Tariq Anwar and Jitendra Singh and will replace Faleiro, Vora, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Tamradhwaj Sahu.
Former Rajasthan chief Sachin Pilot, who rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, does not find any place in the reshuffle though he was offered a post in the organisation.
Pilot clarified that he would want to continue to focus on Rajasthan, said party sources.
New permanent invitees of the CWC include Digvijaya Singh, Rajiv Shukla, Salman Khurshid, Pawan Bansal, Dinesh Gundurao, Manickam Tagore, Pramod Tiwari, Jairam Ramesh, HK Patil, Manish Chatrath and Kuljit Nagra.
Harish Rawat to be general secretary in-charge Punjab, Oommen Chandy will be incharge for Andhra Pradesh, Tariq Anwar to be in-charge for Kerala and Lakshadweep and Jitendra Singh in-charge Assam.
The party has also reconstituted the Central Election Authority to pave way for organisational elections in coming months.