Congress reshuffle: Sonia Gandhi plays it safe, forms please-all AICC team

P Chidambaram has finally been promoted as a full-fledged CWC member. Digvijaya Singh has returned to CWC, this time as a permanent invitee. Jairam Ramesh and Rajiv Shukla too are in the same category though debutants in CWC.

PTI
New Delhi: Sensing a brewing rebellion, the Gandhis played it safe when Sonia Gandhi reconstituted a please-all mega Congress Working Committee on Friday. The generation-balanced reconstitution has 22 permanent members, 26 permanent invitees and nine special invitees. It has retained almost all seniors, including change seekers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik and Jitin Prasada along with younger leaders and new faces.

Rahul Gandhi remains a CWC member and Priyanka Vadra will continue as CWC member-cum-AICC general secretary. P Chidambaram has finally been promoted as a full-fledged CWC member. Digvijaya Singh has returned to CWC, this time as a permanent invitee. Jairam Ramesh and Rajiv Shukla too are in the same category though debutants in CWC.

Though leader of the letter writers, Azad, was dropped as AICC general secretary, so were ageing loyalists Ambika Soni and Motilal Vora, apart from Mallikarjun Kharge and Luzenio Falerio. While pro-change Wasnik retained his post, along with a promotion as a member of the steering, seasoned senior member Tariq Anwar made a comeback to the leadership as CWC member and AICC general secretary along with Team Rahul members Randeep Surjewala and Jitendra Singh. Sachin Pilot, who a section of the media speculated would get a major role at the AICC after his aborted rebellion in Rajasthan, has not been given any post.


Apart from the four incumbent change seekers in CWC, only Arvind Singh Lovely was given a berth in the central election committee. The remaining 18 signatories to the letter did not make it to the AICC team.

A six-member committee constituted to assist the Congress president in organisational and operational matters till the next AICC session elects a full-time president, is dominated by veterans AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni and pro-change Mukul Wasnik. The younger faces are those of KC Venugopal and Surjewala. Azad is the notable absentee.

The 9-member team of AICC general secretaries is a mix of experience and youth: Incumbents Mukul Wasnik (in-charge of Madhya Pradesh), Harish Rawat (in-charge of poll-bound Punjab), Oommen Chandy (AP), Priyanka Vadra (UP), Tariq Anwar (Kerala & Lakshadweep), KC Venugopal (Organisation), Ajay Maken (Rajasthan), Jitendra Singh (Assam) and Surjewala (Karnataka).
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While Rahul-appointees Gaurav Gogoi, Anugrah Narayan Singh and Ram Chandra Kutia too have been dropped as AICC in charge of states, the leadership attempt to humour a pro-change leader in poll-bound UP was evident in promotion of Jitin Prasada as AICC in-charge of West Bengal and Anandaman & Nicobar. Incidentally, his sacking was sought by a DCC in UP. Among 17 new AICC in-charge apart from Prasada are Pawan Kumar Bansal (Administration), Dinesh Gundurao (TN, Goa, and Puducherry), Manickam Tagore (Telangana), Manish Chatrath (Arunachal and Meghalaya) and Rajiv Shukla (HP). Those in charge of other states have been retained.

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