After Bihar Assembly Election 2020, another reshuffle in Congress on the cards
In September this year, the Congress president announced major organisational changes, revamping the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee, and removing some key faces as general secretaries
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is expected to execute another organisational reshuffle soon after the assembly elections in Bihar, introducing some new faces in different wings of the party, including the all-important communications department, people familiar with the development said.
A Congress functionary said on the condition of anonymity that there are two vacancies as far as in-charges of states are concerned.
While Shaktisinh Gohil is in charge of Bihar and Delhi, Dinesh Gundu Rao holds the charge of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa.
“Delhi and Goa are likely to have new in-charges,” he added.
In September this year, the Congress president announced major organisational changes, revamping the party’s highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), and removing some key faces, including senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, as general secretaries.
She also formed a five-member special team that will help her in day-to-day matters and reconstituted the party’s Central Election Authority, which will conduct organisational polls to elect a new party president.
The reshuffle came against the backdrop of 23 Congress leaders, including four CWC members (Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada), writing to Gandhi on August 7, calling for full-time leadership and an introspection behind the “steady decline” of the 135-year-old organisation while outlining an 11-point action plan.
The functionary quoted above said the head of the party’s Kisan cell, Nana Patole, is the Maharashtra assembly speaker, OBC (Other Backward Classes) department chairman Tamradhwaj Sahu is the home minister in Chhattisgarh.
Also, Scheduled Caste department head Nitin Raut is the energy minister in Maharashtra.
Surjewala, who is also the chairman of the party’s communications department, has been elevated as a general secretary and given the charge of Karnataka.
“All these vacancies will be filled soon,” said the functionary.
He said the move to revamp the central election committee (CEC), a panel that finalises the Congress candidates for any election, was deferred due to the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar. “This too will be taken up after the Bihar polls,” he added.
The committee to help Sonia Gandhi in organisational and operational affairs, comprised AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Singh Surjewala, the party’s chief spokesperson. Wasnik was one of signatories of the letter.
The five-member CEA will be headed by Madhusudan Mistry and the members are Rajesh Mishra, Krishna Byre Gowda, S Jothimani and Arvinder Singh Lovely, another letter-writer.
The newly inducted general secretaries include Surjewala (Karnataka), Jitendra Singh (Assam) and Tariq Anwar (Kerala and Lakshadweep).
The new in-charges were Dinesh Gundu Rao (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa), Manickam Tagore (Telangana), Vivek Bansal (Haryana), Pawan Kumar Bansal (administration), Rajeev Shukla (Himachal Pradesh), HK Patil (Maharashtra), Devendra Yadav (Uttarakhand), Manish Chatrath (Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya), Bhakta Charan Das (Mizoram and Manipur), and Kuljit Singh Nagra (Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura).
Those who were retained as general secretaries are Harish Rawat (Punjab), Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Uttar Pradesh), Oommen Chandy (Andhra Pradesh), Ajay Maken (Rajasthan) and KC Venugopal (Organisation). Among the in-charges retained were RPN Singh (Jharkhand), Rajani Patil (Jammu and Kashmir), PL Punia (Chhattisgarh), Shaktisinh Gohil (Bihar and Delhi) and Rajeev Satav (Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu).
The functionary further said the Congress high command will also shift its focus on states, especially those going to polls in next two years.
Many state units will have new chiefs, he added.
Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat holds a ministerial position in the Shiv Sena-led coalition government in the state.
Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik had offered to step down from the post soon after the Lok Sabha elections but was asked to stay put. The Congress leadership had also rejected the resignation offer of the party’s Punjab unit chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar.
Last month, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was named the party chief in West Bengal, which will be going to polls in April-May next year.
Along with West Bengal, assembly elections will be held in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. In 2022, state elections are due in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The mega team of 56 All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretaries will also see a major restructuring.