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Dismal election results force Congress reshuffle

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 12, 2013
First Published: 23:49 IST(12/12/2013) | Last Updated: 23:58 IST(12/12/2013)

After the thrashing in four states, the Congress leadership is contemplating organisational changes at various levels to keep the party battle ready for 2014 general elections and the axe is likely to fall on many state leaders, including Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

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 The state chiefs of Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand are expected to be replaced anytime soon. Congress sources said the party leadership has already conveyed its decision to Bahuguna, who has been unable to quell dissidence in Uttarakhand ever since he took over as the chief minister in March 2012 despite a revolt by union minister Harish Rawat and his supporters.

 The names doing rounds as his possible replacement are speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, ministers Pritam Singh, Indira Hridyesh and Yashpal Arya apart from Rawat. But the dice is heavily loaded against Hridyesh and Rawat since the leadership is wary that their appointment could trigger fresh rebellion.

On the other hand, Kunjwal and Pritam Singh could be acceptable to all the factions. Leading the race to replace Arya as the Uttarakhand Congress chief are Satpal Maharaj, Pradeep Tamta, Surendra Singh Negi and Hira Singh Bisht.

 The possible changes in Uttarakhand have caused some anxious moments in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh as CM Virbhadra Singh rushed to Delhi to meet the party high command earlier this week.

 Delhi Congress chief JP Agarwal has been blamed by both winning and defeated party candidates, including outgoing CM Sheila Dikshit, of complete non-cooperation in the elections. He could be replaced to pave the way for a new face who will have the onerous task of galvanizing the party ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

 Similarly, state chiefs of Rajasthan Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are also expected to be changed in the revamp.

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