Former union minister Anand Sharma will be the new chairman of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) communications department, replacing Ajay Maken who has been appointed as the head of the party’s Delhi unit.
Congress sources said several names were discussed for the post and the leadership finally decided in favour of Sharma, who is the party’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha.
Since the drubbing in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections last year, the media department has consistently come under attack from leaders who argue that the Congress failed not only in political communication but also in effectively countering the BJP’s aggressive campaign of projecting the UPA government as a corrupt regime.
The party on Tuesday also carried out a reshuffle in its state units.
Nanded MP Ashok Chavan, 56, replaces Manikrao Thakre as the new Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
The appointment marks his complete rehabilitation in the party that had five years ago asked him to step down as Maharashtra CM in 2010 after his name figured in Mumbai’s Adarsh housing scam.
Ghulam Ahmed Mir, 55, will head the party in Jammu and Kashmir, replacing 77-year-old Saifuddin Soz.
Mir was among those arrested by the CBI in the sex racket that rocked Kashmir in 2006.
However, a special CBI court in September 2012 acquitted him after all prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
Bharatsinh Solanki, 61, replaced Arjun Modhwadia as Gujarat PCC chief.
A sex scandal CD involving Solanki had rocked the party just before the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat. He then headed the state unit.
In addition, AICC secretary Sanjay Nirupam, 51, was named Mumbai Regional Congress Committee chief and Uttam Kumar Reddy, 52, as PCC chief in Telangana.
Sources said all names were cleared by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi before he took a leave of absence for few weeks to “reflect upon recent events and the future course” of the party.