The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi has stayed the appointment of former MLA, Moid Ahmed as the chairman of the minorities department of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee(UPCC). Maroof Khan, who was replaced on the post by Mr. Ahmed will continue as chairman.

Mr. Ahmed had been appointed the chairman on Monday and his nomination was announced by the UPCC president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi at a press conference in Lucknow on February 17. She said the new chairman was appointed by the Congress president.

However, Maroof Khan was back on the saddle on Saturday following the reported intervention of Ms. Gandhi, who is learnt to have been apprised of the matter by the senior Congress leaders in New Delhi. A letter addressed to the U.P. Congress chief was faxed on Saturday by the chairman of the minorities department of All-India Congress Committee (AICC), Imran Kidwai. The letter stated that the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi has stayed the appointment of Moid Ahmed as chairman of UPCC minorities department till the organisational elections are over.

Confirming the development, Mr. Kidwai told The Hindu from New Delhi that Mr. Khan would continue after Mr. Ahmed’s appointment was stayed by Ms. Gandhi. “Mr. Ahmed’s appointment has been stayed till the process of UPCC organisational elections is over in a few months time,” Mr. Kidwai said.

No confirmation

However, there was no official confirmation of the development by the Pradesh Congress Committee, despite the letter being addressed to Dr. Joshi. The UPCC chief spokesman, Subodh Srivastava said that Dr. Joshi, who is in Delhi, has been apprised of the development and till he gets the nod from her is not in a position to say anything on the subject.The newest development, seen as a setback to the U.P. Congress chief, is the fallout of the bitter infighting raging in the party’s State unit. Dr. Joshi’s detractors were quick to point out that it is probably for the first time that the AICC president had to intervene for correcting a “wrong.” They accused the UPCC president for taking an arbitrary decision of recommending Mr. Ahmed’s name. Under the party constitution, though the president of the State units can appoint chairmen of different cells they have no power to remove or appoint the chairmen of various departments, sources said.

In fact, along with Mr. Ahmed as head of minorities department, Siddha Gopal Sahu was appointed the chairman of backward classes department of UPCC. Mr. Sahu replaced former MLA, Vinod Chaudhary.

Following Ms. Gandhi’s stay order, the same criteria is likely to be applied in Mr. Chaudhary’s case and let him continue as chairman of backward classes department, Congress sources here said.