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Congress set for another round of rejig, to name new leaders for states

The party leadership has firmed up names of a few general secretaries, state chiefs and other office bearers, especially for Bihar, Karnataka and Odisha.

india Updated: May 12, 2017 13:42 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,rejig,new leaders
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and state home minister G Parameshwara during a rally in Belgavi in Karnataka.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

Congress is gearing up for another round of organisational changes, with the party leadership firming up names of a few general secretaries, state chiefs and other office bearers, especially for Bihar, Karnataka and Odisha.

In Bihar and Karnataka, the party is hunting for new chiefs as incumbents Ashok Chaudhary and G Parameshwara are also their ministers, education and home, respectively.

In Bihar, the names of Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Ashok Ram and Kishore Kumar Jha are doing the rounds.

While Parameshwara is trying to retain the party chief post in Karnataka, which goes to polls in April-May 2018, leaders such as D K Shivakumar, M B Patil, S R Patil are said to be in the race.

Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, KC Venugopal, who was last month named the general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, had on Wednesday said “all the confusion” regarding the post of PCC president “will be cleared this month itself”.

According to sources, during Venugopal’s deliberations with over 430 Congress leaders of the state, many had expressed their displeasure against Siddaramaiah and Parameshawara while stressing on the need to fight the 2018 polls under a “collective leadership”.

Venugopal, however, said the differences were “very less” in Karnataka compared to other states and it can be resolved by party leaders.

Venugopal had replaced Digvijaya Singh, who was divested of the charge of Goa and Karnataka following BJP’s return to power despite Congress securing the most number of seats in the assembly polls. Congress had failed to finalise a coalition with smaller parties.

In order to spruce up its digital presence, the grand old party on Thursday announced actor-politician from Karnataka, Ramya as the head of the party’s social media team, replacing Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda who had requested the leadership to relieve him of the responsibility.

Ramya (34) will head the 20-member social media team that handles the grand old party’s website and the Twitter account @INCIndia.

Hooda (39) is expected to be given an organisational responsibility in the ongoing restructuring process initiated by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The party had made a few organisational changes a fortnight back, appointing Avinash Pande as general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan and Sunil Jakhar and Pritam Singh as chiefs in Punjab and Uttarakhand units and Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh Vivek Tankha as the head of the party’s legal department.

With Amarinder Singh taking over as Punjab chief minister, the post of the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha which held has become vacant.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was recently appointed as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary panel that audits the revenue and expenditure of the central government.

However, there is no clarity if the Congress will name his replacement or let him continue, given that he is just a floor leader of the party and does not enjoy the status of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Rahul had also met a party delegation from Odisha who sought a replacement for current state chief Prasad Harichandan, arguing that he has “failed to resurrect” the party and re-energise the cadre.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: May 12, 2017 13:40 IST