NEW DELHI : Ignoring recommendations of the state satraps, the Congress on Monday announced new chiefs of the party’s state units in three states that bear a clear stamp of vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Fifty-one-year-old Kumari Selja, who quit as a union minister on January 28, with clear indication that she will head the Haryana PCC, has been left night and dry as Rahul has preferred his most trusted Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar, a former Youth Congress president from 2005 to 2010, to succeed Phoolchand Mulana, also a Dalit.
Tanwar, who got a sort of the birthday gift two days ahead of his 38th birthday on February 12, is part of Rahul’s inner coterie.
Selja is very close to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and yet she did not get the post as she is the most vocal detractor of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Rahul set her aside to avoid the power conflict affecting the party’s poll prospects. Since after Selja quit and got elected to the Rajya Sabha despite being a 3-time Lok Sabha member, Hooda had insisted on continuing with Mulana at least until the Lok Sabha polls.
He could stop Selja becoming the PCC chief, but he did not oppose Tanwar, knowing his position in Rahul’s team.
Similarly, the Congress put an end to all speculation over any possible tie-up with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee by picking up her staunch detractor Adhir Chowdhury, a minister of state for railways.
Third time MP from Behranpur, the 57-year old Chowdhury replaces Pradip Bhattacharya, MP, who was acting president of the state unit.
In Kerala, former Assembly Speaker V M Sudheeran (65) has been appointed the new PCC president while Rahul has put young MLA and AICC secretary V D Satheeshan as the vice-president. Sudheeran’s appointment came as a surprise as Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and outgoing PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala, who is now in Chandy’s ministry, wanted the post to go to Assembly speaker G Karthikeyan.
All these appointments come close on the heels of young union minister of state Sachin Pilot and party MP Arun Yadav appointed the PCC chiefs in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.