New Delhi: Veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday was removed as All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary even as he was retained in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in a major organisational reshuffle. Azad was one of the 23 party members who wrote a letter to interim party president Sonia Gandhi last month, demanding a leadership overhaul.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi had expressed his displeasure over the letter at a meeting of the CWC, the party’s executive committee, in August, sources had told ThePrint earlier.
However, Mukul Wasnik, another signatory of the letter, has been retained as the general secretary incharge of Madhya Pradesh. He has also been retained as a member of the CWC.
The two other letter signatories from the CWC, Anand Sharma and Jitin Prasada, have been retained as members of the committee as well. Prasada has also been made AICC incharge of West Bengal.
The reshuffle Friday effected several changes in roles, with the Congress constituting two new bodies, including one to assist Sonia Gandhi in her role as interim chief.
Another significant development is that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has served as general secretary incharge of Uttar Pradesh (east) since January 2019, has been given the entire charge of the electorally crucial state. The changes were made public through a press note released by the Congress Friday evening.
More permanent invitees
Apart from Azad, veteran leaders Motilal Vora, Ambika Soni, Mallikarjun Kharge and Luizinho Faleiro have also been dropped from their positions as general secretaries. The reshuffle brings forth a new set of general secretaries, including former MP Tariq Anwar for Kerala and Lakshadweep, chief party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala for Karnataka, and former Union minister Jitendra Singh for Assam.
The CWC has also been revamped, with multiple new entrants as permanent invitees, including Digvijaya Singh, Meira Kumar, Salman Khurshid, Pramod Tiwari, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Kuljit Nagra.
CWC permanent invitees are present at all meetings of the committee and play a significant role in the proceedings.
Two new committees
The Congress has set up a “special committee” to help Sonia Gandhi “in organisational and operational matters as expressed by her in the CWC meeting” last month, the press note stated. This seeks to address the demands for better organisational rigour in the party.
The members of this newly-constituted committee include A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, K.C. Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Singh Surjewala.
A ‘central election authority’ has also been constituted by Sonia, most likely to conduct organisational elections and membership drives for the party.
The chairperson of the committee will be Madhusudan Mistry, and its members include Rajesh Mishra, Krishna Byre Gowda, S. Jothimani and Arvinder Singh Lovely.