Rahul Gandhi to scrap zonal prez system in UP for 'non-performance'

Party sources said that Congress Vice President is likely to scrap the scheme, barely six months old now, in the wake of 'non-performance'.

NEW DELHI: Amid mounting complaints, Rahul Gandhi is expected to wind up soon his much touted experiment of appointing eight zonal presidents including two Union Ministers in Uttar Pradesh.

Party sources said that the Congress Vice President is likely to scrap the scheme, barely six months old now, in the wake of 'non-performance' of several senior leaders including Union Ministers in reaching out to the people.

Union Ministers R P N Singh and Jitin Prasada, CWC member Rasheed Masood, senior leaders like P L Punia, Rajaram Pal, MP and state leaders Vivek Singh, Anugrah Narayan Singh and Bijendra Singh were appointed as Zonal Presidents last year.

The move was the brainchild of Gandhi to tone up the organisation in various regions but it failed to work, a senior leader, who declined to be identified, said.

He said Gandhi has taken a dim view of the functioning of the zonal presidents appointed last year as several of them failed to visit even the district headquarters under their charge while some others did so fleetingly.

Taking an active role in the restructuring of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi had in September last year allocated responsibilities to them. Aiming at enthusing its youth wing, Gandhi had also appointed eight young faces as vice-presidents under these zonal presidents, most of them with Youth Congress background or those who had won the recent Assembly election against all odds.

Uttar Pradesh is politically most crucial state for the Congress having sent 22 Lok Sabha members out of 80 in the last Parliament elections. The party, however, suffered a debacle in the Assembly elections last year as it secured just 28 seats in the 403-member House.

Gandhi was banking heavily on the experiment and had given more than six months to the zonal chiefs to establish the organisation in the grassroots level, the leader said.

The talk in party circles is that the scrapping of the scheme of zonal presidents would mean that Gandhi could rely more on PCC Chief Nirmal Khatri, whom he appointed last year after the resignation of Rita Bahuguna Joshi in the wake of the poll debacle.
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