Congress president Sonia Gandhi went by the principle of “continuity with change” while reconstituting the Congress working Committee (CWC) on Friday, six months after she was elected party chief and ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promised cabinet reshuffle in May.
The revamp has thrown up some surprises. Despite her effort to strike a regional and social balance, curiously Gandhi not only dropped but also bypassed her colleagues from Andhra Pradesh so that the southern state which had twice helped the UPA to come to power — now does not have anyone in the CWC.
Among those dropped are K Keshava Rao, handling West Bengal, V Kishore Chandra Deo, now part of the JPC on 2G scam and G Venkataswami who had recently attacked Gandhi.
Confronted with the Telangana issue and dissidence, Gandhi took away the charge of Andhra Pradesh from Veerappa Moily and gave it to Ghulam Nabi Azad, who will also look after the poll-bound states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Like Azad, Mukul Wasnik continues to hold the dual responsibilities of government and the organisation though Gandhi followed the one-man one-post formula in some cases. It remains to be seen whether they will retain their concurrent charges after the cabinet reshuffle.
In an unusual move, Gandhi decided to change midstream state in-charges of election going states.
Keshava Rao has been replaced by Shakeel Ahmed who will now have to prove his mettle in dealing with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Mohsina Kidwai with Gujarat leader Madhusudan Mistry.
Also, Mohan Prakash has been given daunting task of managing the party in critical states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and J&K.
Senior OBC leader Beni Prasad Verma and Raj Babbar have been included in the extended CWC as part of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Mission UP 2012’.
Ahmed Patel retains his position. Now dead Arjun Singh was dropped from the CWC and made a permanent invitee.