New Delhi :  Faced with a leadership crisis in the aftermath of the brutal left-wing attack on its frontline leaders in Chhattisgarh, the Congress has appointed union minister of state Charandas Mahant as the acting president to take charge of its state unit.

He comes in place of Nand Kumar Patel who was killed in the attack along with his son as well as a tribal leader Mahendra Karma.

Mahant, the lone Congress MP from the state was hand-picked by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi after week-long consultations with the state leaders. Party general secretary B K Hariprasad along with treasurer and senior leader Motilal Vora also had a stock-taking meeting with the leaders from districts at Raipur on Sunday.

In view of the critical situation in the party Bhupesh Baghel, a former minister has been appointed the programme coordinator.

The state goes to poll in November this year and the party faces the challenge of battling a well-emtreched two-term BJP government under Raman Singh’s leadership.

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