NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi has got going on re-energising a dispirited Congress. After her return from a whirlwind trip to Karnataka over the weekend, she did not tarry upon her return. Her hand was evident in the appointments of four Gandhi family loyalists as new governors—former SPG chief B V Wanchoo, former Railway Minister C K Jaffer Sharief, former Madhya Pradesh assembly speaker S Srinivas Tiwari and Indira Gandhi’s former personal secretary and old faithful R K Dhawan, who is currently a party general secretary. The picture emerging in Delhi is indicative of Sonia’s gameplan: next move—finalise the UPA’s new presidential candidate followed by a cabinet reshuffle, which will set the theme for 2014.
Of the four new governors, two octogenarians—Sharief and Tiwari—have been dusted out of the mothballs. At present, the posts of Governors of Rajasthan and Kerala are vacant and the tenure of existing Governors of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Goa have either ended or coming to an end later this month. Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil is holding charge of Governor of Rajasthan. A number of these states may see new faces, but the Andhra Governor ESL Narasimhan—a Sonia faithful—is likely to continue in his present posting.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Congress political secretary Ahmed Patel attended the meeting at which the names were cleared.