Congress turns focus on Rajasthan after Punjab revamp

Rajasthan’s former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu, PTI

The resolution of infighting in Punjab has not only prompted the Congress party to address the issue of factionalism in Rajasthan but also resolve some of the long pending issues with regard to other States.

In Rajasthan, the peace formula to bring the warring factions of former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is in its final stages. While some of Mr. Pilot’s supporters will find a place in the Gehlot cabinet, Mr. Pilot himself is likely to be drafted as a general secretary in the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

A final decision is likely by July 28-29 when AICC in-charge of Rajasthan, Ajay Maken, who went to Jaipur along with general secretary (organization) K.C. Venugopal on Saturday, gets the go-ahead of party president Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia speaks to seniors

Ms. Gandhi is learnt to have spoken to Mr Gehlot to speed up the process of expanding his cabinet to accommodate the different sections.

Conveying a sense of urgency, in the past couple of weeks, the Congress president has also met senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma to discuss organisational issues.

Gujarat is one State that is a priority for the high command as Assembly elections are due in the latter part of 2022. The party needs to appoint a new State leadership as well as a new AICC in-charge. Feedback for the process is currently on, said a source

While the former in-charge Rajeev Satav passed away in the second wave of coronavirus earlier this year, the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief had resigned last year after the party's rout in the by-elections to eight Assembly seats, most of which were vacated by Congress lawmakers after shifting to the ruling BJP.


Karnataka concerns

Another State where the Congress is keen to put up a united front is Karnataka amid reports of a leadership tussle between PCC chief D.K. Shivkumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also leader of the party in the Assembly.

“To ensure that the party takes this up unitedly, Rahul ji had long deliberations with Shri Siddaramaiah and Shri D.K. Shivakumar. Let me assure the Congress party is united and there is no difference of leadership,” AICC general secretary for Karnataka Randeep Surjewala told reporters after the meeting last Tuesday.

In the past one week, the party has also revamped its unit in poll bound Uttarakhand and tried a course correction in Assam with a new team.

In Uttarakhand, where elections are scheduled around February-March next year, a new PCC chief, Ganesh Godiyal, has been appointed and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat was announced as the party’s campaign committee chief.

While in Assam, where the party was attacked over its alliance with Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the party appointed Bhupen Bora as the new PCC chief and former MLA Rana Goswami as one of the three working presidents.

The move is being seen as an image makeover as both Mr Bora and Mr Goswami are known to be leaders who had opposed the alliance with AIUDF.

Among other States where a revamp is likely includes Bihar, West Bengal and Goa in the next round of organisational reshuffle.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 12:00:05 PM |

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