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Congress overhaul: G23 letter writers retain positions and gain more

Striking a balance: Ghulam Nabi Azad, second from left, has lost charge of Haryana, but his position in the Congress Working Committee remains intact.   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

The Congress late on Friday evening brought about large-scale changes to its organisation structure, reconstituting the Congress Working Committee (CWC), appointing a six-member committee to assist Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and reworking the general secretaries in-charge of various States.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was one of the 23 signatories of the recent letter demanding a re-haul and reform within the party, has been dropped as general secretary in-charge of Haryana, though his position in the CWC remains intact.

There has been no significant change in the position of the other signatories — Anand Sharma, Jitin Prasada and Mukul Wasnik have been retained in the CWC. In fact, Mr. Wasnik, is also a part of the six-member committee formed to assist Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Prasada, in significant increase in responsibilities, has been appointed as in-charge of West Bengal, which goes for polls in April 2021.

In other major changes in the CWC, Tariq Anwar, who in 1999 walked out along with Sharad Pawar and P.A. Sangma, has found his way back. Mr. Anwar, who was in the Nationalist Congress Party, had rejoined the Congress more than a year ago.

The other new entrant is Jairam Ramesh, who for the first time is finding his place as a permanent invitee to the CWC. Salman Khurshid, who has repeatedly spoken in favour of the Gandhi family continuing, every time there is a demand for an open election, has won a berth in the CWC. Another old-timer Pawan Kumar Bansal, too, has found a place.

Motilal Vora, 91, who has long served as party treasurer and was administration in-charge of the party, has been divested of all his responsibilities, including those pertaining to the CWC, owing to his age.

In a significant change, Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is the current communications in-charge for the party, has been appointed as general secretary in-charge of Karnataka. Mr. Surjewala has been the communications in-charge for the party for nearly six years now. Sources indicated this could mean that the party will soon have a new communications in-charge in his place.

A total of nine general secretaries or in-charges of various States and departments have been removed. This list includes Mr. Azad, Mr. Vora, Ambika Soni, Mallikarjun Kharge, Luizino Falerio, Gaurav Gogoi, Asha Kumari, R.C. Khutia and Anugrah N. Singh.

Mr. Kharge, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has been removed as Maharashtra in-charge, and senior leader H. K. Patil has been appointed in his place. Mr. Gogoi, who was appointed as deputy leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, too, has been divested of all charges.

The six-member committee that will assist Ms. Gandhi comprises A. K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, K.C. Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Singh Surjewala.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 7:14:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-overhauls-its-organisation-g23-letter-writers-retain-positions-and-gain-more/article32584245.ece

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