Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced a major organisational reshuffle on Friday and constituted a six-member special committee to assist her in organisational and operational matters.
AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Soni, KC Venugopal, Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Singh Surjwala were appointed as members of this panel. During the last meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) held on August 24, it was decided that a committee would be set up to assist Sonia Gandhi to look into the issues raised in the letter by 23 leaders, who called for sweeping reforms within the Congress.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Motilal Vora, Ambika Sonia and Luizinho Faleiro were dropped as party general secretaries. The president, instead, appointed Wasnik, Harish Rawat, Oommen Chandy, Tariq Anwar, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Surjewala, Jitendra Singh, Ajay Maken, KC Venugopal as new general secretaries.
The reshuffle comes just over a fortnight after 23 senior leaders of the Congress, including five former Chief Ministers, many Congress Working Committee members, sitting MPs, and several former Union Ministers, have, in an unprecedented pushback, sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi calling for sweeping changes, from top to bottom. The letter called for a “full time and effective leadership” which is both “visible” and “active” in the field; elections to the CWC; and the urgent establishment of an “institutional leadership mechanism” to “collectively” guide the party’s revival. Azad, the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, former Union Ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor were among the signatories to the letter.
In addition, the Congress president has reconstituted the CWC. Aside from Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ambika Sonia, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Harish Rawat, Venugopal, Kharge, Wasnik, Chandy, Maken, Priyanka Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Jitendra Singh, Anwar, Surjewala, Gaikhangam, Raghuveer Singh Meena, and Tarun Gogoi have been appointed as CWC members.
Digvijaya Singh, Meira Kumar, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Jairam Ramesh, Salman Khurshid, Avinash Pandey, KH Muniyappa, Pramod Tiwari, Tariq Hameed Karra, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Rajani Patil, PL Punia, R.P.N Singh, Shakisinh Gohil, Rajeev Satav, Rajeev Shukla, Jitin Prasada, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Manickam Tagore, Chellakumar, H.K Patil, Devendra Yadav, Vivek Bansal, Manish Chatrath, Bhakta Charan Das, and Kuljit Singh Nagra are among the CWC permanent invitees.
In the last CWC meeting, the CWC also decided that Sonia Gandhi would remain party’s interim president for now and that a new chief would be elected within the next 6 months.