New Delhi : In a major reshuffle in the Congress at the top, Rahul Gandhi gave a birthday gift to his mother’s former political secretary Ahmed Patel (69) by making him the party’s treasurer, a key post given only to the most trusted man of the party president. He had held the post as treasurer also from 1996 to 2000.
The sixth term Rajya Sabha member, Ahmed bhai, as addressed by all in the party, makes the big bang comeback as the media had written him off after ceasing to be the most powerful political secretary of Sonia Gandhi until Rahul included him in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in July.
He has been the trusted member of the Gandhi family since Rajiv Gandhi’s time whom he served as a parliamentary secretary. The most powerful man as a sort of family member of the Gandhis, he is known as a trouble-shooter in the Congress.
The 89-year old Rajya Sabha MP Motilal Vora, who had taken over from him as the treasurer and remained in the post for the longest 18 years, has been made general secretary (administration), a newly-created post. Vora, a former Uttar Pradesh governor and a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, was, in fact, looking after the administration at the AICC headquarters even as the treasurer.
Yet another surprise re-appointment is of former Goa CM Luizinho Faleiro as the AICC general secretary in-charge of the North-eastern states, except Assam, the post he held before returning to Goa as the PCC president, the post he quit in June last year. It also turns out to be a sort of birthday gift to Luizinho as he turns 67 on the coming Sunday. He succeeds C P Joshi, who ceases to be the general secretary after losing the charge of other states like Bihar and West Bengal earlier.
Other appointments announced by general secretary Ashok Gehlot are former union minister Anand Sharma as chairman of the party’s foreign affairs department, replacing Dr Karan Singh, and induction of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as a permanent invitee to the CWC, correcting the mistake in leaving out the 73-year old Dalit leader and daughter of late former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram. She was also the joint opposition candidate for the presidentship of India last year that she lost to the BJP’s Ram Nath Kovind.