Congress may name two chiefs in Uttar Pradesh after east-west division
The decision to appoint Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as Congress general secretary for eastern Uttar Pradesh was kept under wraps as several senior party leaders were taken by surprise after the move was made public on Wednesday.
The decision to appoint Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as Congress general secretary for Eastern Uttar Pradesh was kept under wraps as several senior party leaders were taken by surprise after the move was made public on Wednesday.
Before Congress president Rahul Gandhi left for Dubai on a two-day visit to address the Indian diaspora from January 11, he was briefed by Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh until Wednesday, and state chief Raj Babbar about the political situation in the state in the wake of a tie-up between Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party.
During the meeting, Azad and Babbar proposed a series of rallies by Rahul Gandhi across Uttar Pradesh, starting in the first week of February, a Congress leader said on condition of anonymity. Rahul Gandhi, the leader said, accepted the proposal and told the two leaders to go ahead with the planning of the rallies.
To give a final shape to the Congress president’s proposed rallies, Azad had called a meeting of office-bearers in Lucknow on Thursday and a follow-up “brainstorming session” at the party’s “war room” in Delhi on Friday.
However, the Congress president, in a surprise move, brought in Priyanka Gandhi and also elevated Guna Lok Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia as the general secretary and gave him the charge of Western Uttar Pradesh.
During a speech in Dubai on January 12, Rahul Gandhi had dropped a few hints when he said a “big surprise” was in the offing but had not given any details. According to a party statement, Priyanka Gandhi will take charge in the first week of February. She will return from abroad on January 31.
Scindia will take over immediately and continue to be the party’s chief whip in the Lower House of Parliament.
With the division of the party organisation into East and West units of nine divisions each with 42 and 38 Lok Sabha seats respectively, the Congress will soon have two chiefs in the state. A Congress functionary said Babbar will soon be eased out as part of the revamp.
The names of former union minister Jitin Prasada, the party in-charge for Chhattisgarh, PL Punia, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, the great-grandson of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kamalapati Tripathi, former Lok Sabha MP Rajesh Mishra have emerged as front runners for the heads of the two units.
Once the new team is in place, the party will then appoint 130 district and city presidents, whose appointments have been pending since June last year. Though the names were submitted to Rahul Gandhi in June, the list could not be finalised so far in the absence of “sufficient” details.
At a meeting of the party’s core group in the first week of January, all state units were asked to expedite setting up of different committees so that the Congress is battle ready for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.