Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, organizational changes in Congress
1 min read.Updated: 24 Jan 2019, 12:30 AM ISTAnuja
The changes were in line with the recent trend of maintaining a balance between veterans and young blood
Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia appointed as general secretaries in charge of UP East and West, respectively
NEW DELHI: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday announced a series of changes in the party organization, ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections later this year, in line with the recent trend of maintaining a balance between veteran leadership and young blood.
The Congress president not only named Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia as general secretaries in charge of Uttar Pradesh East and West respectively, but also made the key organizational change of appointing K.C. Venugopal as general secretary in charge of organization.
Venugopal replaces Ashok Gehlot, who is now Rajasthan chief minister, in one of the most crucial positions in the party, particularly in an election year. Venugopal, a Lok Sabha member from Kerala, will be entrusted with overseeing organizational strengthening and changes in the party.
“Venugopal is a careful choice as he is known to be a good organization person. He had recently delivered Karnataka for the Congress where the party formed the only opposition alliance government in the country right now," a senior party leader said requesting anonymity.
“In a way, it also symbolizes the focus that Gandhi is putting on the southern region. Venugopal belongs to Kerala and has significant clout in Karnataka," the leader said.
With the announcement of position for Vadra and Scindia, Ghulam Nabi Azad would no longer be in charge of Uttar Pradesh. Azad has instead been made the general secretary in charge of Haryana.
The choice of a senior leader such as Azad, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, to oversee Haryana is significant because the Congress is attempting to tackle factional problems in the state unit of the party.
“Haryana has been a strong state for Congress but we lost it to the BJP during the 2014 phase where it had an edge. With Azad overseeing Haryana, the party is hopeful of consolidating the electoral gains in its favour," a senior party leader from the state said requesting anonymity.
For a little over a year, Rahul Gandhi has been making a series of changes in the party to ready it for the Lok Sabha elections. These include promoting younger leaders, while at the same time giving key posts to veterans, and forming new party departments and cells on focused groups.