It is also learned that Jitin Prasada and RPN Singh are out of the race given that the central leadership had received complaints about them being “inaccessible” to party workers during their tenure as Union ministers.
A senior functionary told HT that the leadership had considered handing over reins of the state unit to either of the two young leaders before the Lok Sabha elections in an attempt to galvanise the cadre but the move was shelved.
The discussions between the Congress leadership and state functionaries had veered around several names and all factors such as religion, caste, age, region and loyalty to the party have been taken into consideration.
The race to replace incumbent Nirmal Khatri has now narrowed down to 4-5 people. Among the contenders are former MPs PL Punia, Rajesh Mishra, Rajaram Pal and ex-CLP leader Pramod Tiwari. Mishra had sought party ticket from Varanasi against Narendra Modi but the party preferred former BJP legislator Ajay Rai over him.
Following the poll debacle, the Congress has decided to replace the leadership in many states and form new committees to once again make the party organisation a fighting fit political machine.
It had recently appointed former minister Kishore Upadhyay as the Uttarakhand Congress chief. Upadhyay, who is known to be close to chief minister Harish Rawat, was eventually considered to strike a balance between region and caste factors.