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Congress announces large-scale changes in reshuffle

New Delhi Constituting Rahul Gandhi's team for the 2014 Lok Sabha battle, Congress on Sunday brought in former Union Ministers Ajay Maken and C P Joshi along with Ambika Soni and Gurudas Kamat as General Secretaries and dropped Ghulam Nabi Azad and Oscar Fernandes.

Making larges-cale changes in the organisation, Congress President Sonia Gandhi retained Ahmed Patel as her Political Secretary but significantly made Ambika Soni as General Secretary incharge of the Congress President's Office (CPO).

Ms Soni was the Political Secretary before Patel replaced her nearly a decade ago. She had also held the charge of CPO earlier.

Madhusudan Mistri, who hails from Gujarat and is considered close to Mr Gandhi, got the charge of key Uttar Pradesh with Digvijay Singh being given the responsibility of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa.

Other General Secretaries who were dropped included Vilas Muttamwar and Birender Singh. Among the incharges of various states who failed to get renomination were Jagmeet Singh Brar, Jagdish Tytler and Gulchain Singh Charak.

Those who have been elevated as General Secretaries include Mohan Prakash, Shakeel Ahmed and Luizinho Faleiro who were earlier Permanent Invitees to Congress Working Committee (CWC) and incharge of various states.

With Lok Sabha polls less than a year away, Mr Maken has been entrusted with the newly-created Communication, Publicity and Publication wing which will now include the media department of the party.

The media department was being handled for the last six years by Janardan Dwivedi. Priya Dutt will be assisting Mr Maken as Secretary with the party appointing as many as 42 secretaries. Mr Maken and Mr Joshi had resigned as Union Ministers Saturday night.

A senior leader remarked that the changes in the organisation showed that this a new generation takeover as the average age of the apex policy making body of the party, the CWC, is now 52 while it was much more earlier.

Mr Gandhi, who took over as party Vice President in January this year, has kept to himself the charge of front organisations with Prabha Kishor Taviad and Suraj Hegde set to help him as Secretaries.
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