After drawing a pathetic blank in the recently concluded Delhi assembly Elections 2015, the Congress party is keen to rediscover itself among the voters. In a major reshuffle ahead of possible elevation of vice-president Rahul Gandhi as party president at the AICC session next month, Congress has appointed five new PCC chiefs and one regional Congress Committee President.
The reshuffle had a clear imprint of Rahul Gandhi in handing over Ajay Maken the state leadership in Delhi, Ashok Chavan in Maharashtra, Ghulam Ahmed Mir in Jammu and Kashmir Bharatsinh Solanki in Gujarat and Uttam Reddy in Telangana.
AICC secretary Sanjay Nirupam has been made the chief of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee. The changes in the states were due for long and Rahul was particularly keen to have new PCC chiefs in these states.
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi has appointed five new Pradesh Congress Committee Presidents and one Regional Congress Committee President,” party general secretary Organization Janardan Dwivedi said giving the names in an AICC release.
In addition, Mallu Bhati Virkamarka, an MLA has been appointed as working president for Telangana. The new Telangana PCC chief Reddy replaces incumbent state chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who was appointed only in March last year. Reddy was then made working president. While Chavan replaces Manikrao Thakre, Ghulam Ahmed Mir replaces Saifuddin Soz in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bharatsinh Solanki, who replaced Arjun Modhwadia as PCC Chief in Gujarat is a former Union minister and son of former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki. This is his second stint as PCC chief. He had held the post five years ago.
Maken’s return as Delhi state chief was widely expected after he was made the Congress Campaign Committee Chief for Delhi Assembly polls as the party wanted to replace the face of three-term Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit with a known face.
Maken had replaced Arvinder Singh Lovely, who was made PCC chief last year after the party’s rout in 2013 Assembly polls in which it had got only eight seats while Dikshit had lost from her home constituency New Delhi. The changes in the state are a precursor to a rejig in AICC, where a number of general secretaries are to be replaced.
The party has also appointed AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad and AICC Secretary Mainul Haque as Observer and Co-Observer for the meeting to elect Congress Legislature Party leader in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Punjab, the name of Lal Singh, a close aide of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is doing the rounds. While incumbent Partap Singh Bajwa is to be replaced, Amarinder Singh, who had raised a banner of revolt against Bajwa, is unlikely to become PCC chief. Lal Singh is a choice of the former CM.