New Delhi: In a major rejig ahead of the crucial 2019 general assembly elections, the Congress on Tuesday announced new roles for several stalwarts including Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi appointed Ahmed Patel as AICC treasurer of the party. Patel will replace Motilal Vora, who has been appointed as general secretary in-charge of administration. Vora had been managing the party’s coffers for the longest time.
Patel, political secretary of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is a Rajya Sabha member. He is known as a key resource mobiliser for the party and has earlier served the post of treasurer.
In another significant development, Rahul appointed former Union minister Anand Sharma as the chairperson of the party’s foreign affairs department replacing Karan Singh, the Congress said in a statement. Luizinho Salerio was appointed as AICC general secretary in-charge of north-eastern states, excluding Assam, replacing CP Joshi. Former speaker Meira Kumar has been made a permanent invite to the Congress working committee, the highest decision-making body of the party.
The rejig in the party comes almost a month after the Rahul constituted a new team of the Congress Working Committee and dropped veterans like Digvijaya Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde and Karan Singh. The new Congress Working Committee includes 23 members, 19 permanent invitees and 9 special invitees.
Besides Rahul, former party chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, all former Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Oommen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi, Siddharamaiah and Harish Rawat were included.
Other prominent exclusions are Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was earlier a permanent invitee to the body, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh and party veterans Mohan Prakash, Oscar Fernandes, C P Joshi and Mohsina Kidwai. However, Hooda’s son Deepender Singh has been made a special invitee.
The CWC was dissolved prior to the election of the Congress president and the earlier panel was transformed into a steering committee till the party’s plenary session that concluded in March. The CWC, which acts as an advisory panel on all key decisions of the party, was not in place since the plenary session in March.