Sonia Gandhi reconstitutes CWC; Azad, Kharge dropped as general secretaries

Sonia Gandhi reconstitutes CWC, Azad, Kharge dropped as general secretaries
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: In a major organisational reshuffle, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday dropped Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni, Mallikarjun Kharge as AICC general secretaries, reconstituted the CWC and appointed P Chidambaram, Randeep Surjewala, Tariq Anwar and Jitendra Singh as its regular members.

Gandhi also formed a six-member special committee to assist her in organisational matters, apart from reconstituting the central election authority of AICC with Madhusudan Mistry as its chairman, Rajesh Misra, Krishna Byre Gowda, S Jothimani and Arvinder Singh Lovely as its members.

The Central Election Authority (CEA) will elect the new Congress president.

The new members in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision making body, will replace Luizinho Faleiro, who is also removed as AICC general secretary, Vora, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Tamradhwaj Sahu.

While Chowdhury has been made a permanent invitee of CWC, the other three have been dropped.

The special committee, which will assist Gandhi in organisational and operational matters, will have AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Surjewala as its members.

The organisational changes bears the stamp of Rahul Gandhi, with majority of the new appointees known to be his close aides, including general secretaries Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Jitendra Singh and KC Venugopal.

Antony, Venugopal turn down offer to become President of Congress
AK Antony and KC Venugopal

Some of the young leaders considered close to him have been given key organisational roles as in-charge of various states and figure in the reconstituted CWC as permanent and special invitees.

Surjewala has also been made the general secretary in-charge for Congress affairs in Karnataka. He currently also holds the charge of the AICC communications department.

Among the leaders who have been made permanent invitees to the CWC include Digvijaya Singh, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Avinash Pande and Chowdhury, who was earlier a regular member of CWC.

Besides, leaders like Pramod Tiwari, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Rajeev Shukla, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Manickam Tagore, HK Patil, Devender Yadav, Vivek Bansal, Manish Chatrath, Kuljit Nagra and Bhakta Charan Das have also been made permanent invitees to the CWC.

Digvijaya Singh

From the 'group of 23' leaders, who had written a letter to Gandhi seeking Congress' overhaul, Azad and Sharma continue to be regular members of the CWC, while Jitin Prasada has been made a permanent invitee to CWC from being a special invitee earlier.

Prasada has also been made in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Wasnik, another leader who was among the 'letter-writers', has been made AICC general secretary in-charge for Madhya Pradesh.

Lovely, also from the 'group of 23' has been accommodated as a member of the CEA.

Anugrah Narayan Singh, Asha Kumari, Gaurav Gogoi and Ram Chandra Khuntia are among those dropped by the Congress as its in-charge for states.

There is no change in the role of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who will now be the AICC general secretary in-charge for Uttar Pradesh. She was earlier general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, but was practically taking care of the entire state after Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (West), quit and joined the BJP.

The new AICC general secretaries include Harish Rawat for Punjab, Oommen Chandy for Andhra Pradesh, Tariq Anwar for Kerala and Lakshadweep, Jitendra Singh for Assam, Maken for Rajasthan and KC Vengopal for Organisation.

While Bansal has been made in-charge of AICC administration, those who will look after state affairs include Rajni Patil (Jammu and Kashmir), PL Punia (Chhattisgarh), RPN Singh (Jharkhand), Shaktisinh Gohil (Delhi and Bihar), Rajeev Shankarrao Satav (Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu) and Rajeev Shukla (Himachal Pradesh).

Oommen Chandy
Oommen Chandy

Others include Dinesh Gundu Rao (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa), Manickam Tagore (Telangana), Chellakumar (Odisha), HK Patil (Maharashtra), Devender Yadav (Uttarakhand), Vivek Bansal (Haryana), Manish Chatrath (Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya), Bhakta Charan Das (Mizoram and Manipur) and Kuljit Singh Nagra (Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura).

"The party wholeheartedly appreciates the contributions of outgoing general secretaries Azad, Vora, Soni, Kharge and Faleiro," a statement by AICC general secretary Venugopal said.

Ambika Soni
Ambika Soni

It also appreciates the contributions of outgoing in-charges Anugrah Narayan Singh, Asha Kumari, Gaurav Gogoi and Ram Chandra Khuntia, it added.

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