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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Rahul’s game-changer: 37-year-old MP to be named Haryana Congress chief

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times   New Delhi, December 18, 2013
First Published: 22:18 IST(18/12/2013) | Last Updated: 23:48 IST(18/12/2013)
In a clear indication of the implementation of Rahul Gandhi’s long-term plan to hand over organisational responsibilities to the younger generation, Lok Sabha MP and Dalit leader Ashok Tanwar, 37, will be the new chief of Haryana Congress.
 
The state chiefs of Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh -- where the party cut a sorry figure in the just-concluded elections -- are also expected to be replaced anytime soon, along with Uttarakhand.
 
Congress sources said the appointment of Tanwar has been cleared by the party high command and the decision will be announced in a day or two.
 
Tanwar, who is a secretary in the All India Congress Committee (AICC), will replace Phool Chand Mulana.
 
A former president of the Youth Congress -- a post he held for five years – and also the NSUI, he rose to prominence in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when he defeated an Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate by more than three lakh votes from Sirsa, the home district of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala.
 
The central leadership had been mulling to change the state chief for a long time now but the decision was delayed in view of lobbying by various camps owing allegiance to chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, union minister Kumar Selja and former Congress general secretary Choudhary Birender Singh.
 
Tanwar finally emerged as a consensus candidate in a state where politics is fiercely divided between Jats and non-Jats.
 
With the party vice-president fully behind him, Tanwar’s immediate challenge would be to unite a heavily faction-ridden state unit, more so with general elections just a few months away.
 
The appointment marks the beginning of the organisational changes expected in the Congress after its poll debacle in four states.
 
On Wednesday, former MP John F Fernandes was appointed as the Goa Congress chief, replacing Subhash Shirodkar who had submitted his resignation soon after the party’s humiliating defeat in the 2012 assembly elections.
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