Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad
Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

In a major reshuffle in the Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi, who has since left for the US, has reconstituted the CWC, formed a 6-member special committee to assist her in organisational and operational matters and dropped five senior general secretaries.

Those dropped include Ambika Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Motilal Vora and Luizinho Faleiro.

The reshuffle comes a month after a group of 23 party leaders wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi calling for an overhaul of the party, internal elections and a "full-time, visible leadership". The letter also suggested that the Gandhi family would always be a part of collective decision-making. Azad was one of the prominent "dissent" letter writers.

Tariq Anwar, who along with Sharad Pawar and PA Sangma had quit the Congress to float the Nationalist Congress Party but later returned to the party fold, has got a double promotion. He has been made both general secretary in-charge of poll-bound Kerala and a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

The caucus, which will assist Sonia, includes Ambika Soni, who was removed as general secretary because of age-related problems. Others in the caucus are Ahmed Patel, A K Antony, K C Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Singh Surjewala. They will continue to function till the next AICC session.

Only a single ‘dissident’ -- Mukul Wasnik -- has been accommodated in this six-member committee.

Some of key Rahul Gandhi aides and loyalists, such as Venugopal and Surjewala, have been nominated to all key committees. Surjewala, in fact, is among the biggest gainers. He has been named general secretary in charge of Karnataka; he is also in the special committee and continues as party’s chief spokesperson.

A 3-member central election committee will be headed by former general secretary Madhusudan Mistry from Gujarat; it will have Rajesh Mishra and Krishna Byre Gowda as members.

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