Congress Revamp in Five States as Team Rahul Gandhi Takes Over

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Congress Revamp in Five States as Team Rahul Gandhi Takes Over

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at a Congress meet (File Photograph)

New Delhi: 

The Congress today appointed new chiefs in five major states including Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra, in a major reshuffle ahead of the possible elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party president next month.

Ajay Maken has been handed charge of Delhi, Ashok Chavan will be in charge of Maharashtra, Bharatsinh Solanki is the party's chief in Gujarat, Uttam Reddy will lead the party in Telangana and Ghulam Ahmed Mir will be chief in Jammu and Kashmir. Sanjay Nirupam will be the party's chief in Mumbai.

"We look forward to active times. The changes were scheduled, it's the right thing. They all bear a stamp of Rahul Gandhi," said senior Congress leader Kamal Nath.

This is the first in a set of big changes the party is planning after its multiple poll setbacks, including its worst ever defeat in last year's national election.

Sources say Congress president Sonia Gandhi signed off on the changes after an all-clear from her son Rahul, who is about to return from his much-debated "leave of absence" for which he is missing a part of the budget session.

Some of the appointments have raised questions.

Mr Maken, a known Rahul Gandhi loyalist, will take charge as chief in Delhi days after leading the party to a record zero-seat defeat. "My top priority would be to strengthen the organization. I know Delhi politics better than central politics," he said today. Mr Maken replaces Arvinder Singh Lovely who had quit after the Delhi poll debacle.

The party also faced questions on its choice of Ashok Chavan, who faced allegations in a defence housing scam, and Ghulam Mir, who was acquitted in a sex scandal.

Mr Chavan, a former chief minister, is one of the only four Congress leaders who won in Maharashtra in the national election and is seen to be a strong Maratha leader. He replaces Manikrao Thakre.

Today's changes are being seen a precursor to a larger revamp in the All India Congress Committee, the party's highest policy making body, which meets in April.

 

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