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Rahul Gandhi to rely on a mix of young and the old

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is set to take over as the party’s president on December 11 after he was the only one to file the nomination for the post on Monday

india Updated: Dec 04, 2017 23:34 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi (L) walks with party leader Motilal Vora as he arrives to file his nomination papers for the post of party president at the All India Congress Committee office in New Delhi, on December 4, 2017.
Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi (L) walks with party leader Motilal Vora as he arrives to file his nomination papers for the post of party president at the All India Congress Committee office in New Delhi, on December 4, 2017.(AFP Photo)

Rahul Gandhi’s immediate task after taking over the reins of the party from his mother Sonia Gandhi will be to carry out an organisational reshuffle and reconstitute the powerful Congress Working Committee (CWC).

The message coming out of his ongoing reshuffle seems to be clear – there will be no blood bath and that the new -look Congress will continue to have a mix of young and the old.

The 47-year-old Rahul has been virtually running the party for more than two years now with Sonia taking a back step.

The changes so far suggest that he will not shy away from fixing responsibilities. For example, outspoken general secretary Digvijaya Singh who has been cut to size.

Not only has Singh been divested of the charge of Goa and Telangana but also of the important state of Karnataka which goes to polls early next year.

Karnataka is the only big state after Punjab where the Congress is in power and fancies its chances given that the BJP is a divided house with a section led by backward caste leader KS Easwarappa up in arms against its chief BS Yeddyurappa who belongs to the powerful Lingayat community.

Singh, however, continues to hold the charge of Andhra Pradesh where the Congress has been reduced to political margins due to its move to bifurcate the state.

Other poor performers such as Mohan Prakash, Ambika Soni, BK Hariprasad too have been punished with less harsh measures. They continue to be the general secretaries.

A general secretary is a top ranking functionary in the Congress hierarchy and coordinates between a state unit and the party high command.

Who’s in?

Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, ex-Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Lok Sabha MP KC Venugopal, Rahul Gandhi’s confidante Deepak Babaria and former Rajya Sabha member Avinash Pande have all been made general secretaries.

While Gehlot manages the party affairs in poll-bound Gujarat, Shinde looked after another Himachal Pradesh, another poll-bound state. Babaria has been given the charge of Madhya Pradesh and Pande will take care of Rajasthan.

Similarly, ex-MPs RC Khuntia, PL Punia and RPN Singh have been elevated and appointed as in-charge of Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand respectively.

An in-charge is a post created to accommodate a middle rung leader without the designation of a general secretary.

The fresh changes are part of a new strategy aimed at adapting to the changing times. It lays down a strict condition that a Congress functionary will hold the charge of only one state. With this, the party has shunned its decades-old practice of indiscriminately handing charge over multiple states to general secretaries or any other leader of a similar stature.