Venugopal to replace Digvijaya as head of Congress in Goa and poll-bound Karnataka
The Congress on Saturday removed general secretary Digvijaya Singh as the party’s head in Goa and Karnataka, which goes to the polls next year.
In Karnataka, where the Congress is hoping to retain power, Singh will be replaced by Lok Sabha MP from Alappuzha (Kerala) KC Venugopal, who has been appointed general secretary.
Singh had come under fire for his “mishandling” post-poll developments in Goa, where the Congress failed to form the government despite emerging as the single largest party. The BJP succeeded in cobbling together a coalition and CM Manohar Parrikar even offered “special thanks” to Singh for “doing nothing” and enabling the Bjp-led government. However, he continues to be party general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Making these organisational changes, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also handed over the charge of Goa to party secretary A Chella Kumar.
In another move, Madhusudan Mistry was removed as a general secretary and inducted as a member in the central election authority that oversees internal organisational polls. A general secretary coordinates between a state unit and party high command.
Till now, Mistry was in charge of the central election committee (CEC), headed by Sonia Gandhi with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party vicepresident Rahul Gandhi as its members. The CEC selects party candidates for elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
On April 26, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot was appointed as general secretary in charge of Bjp-ruled Gujarat, where assembly elections are due in November-december this year.
In Karnataka, a rebellion had been brewing in the ruling Con- gress. Many state leaders and leg islators and complained to the high command about Singh’s style of functioning and demanded his removal.
All these changes, especially in states going to polls in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections clearly have Rahul’s stamp o approval. Venugopal and his team are all considered close to the Congress vice-president.
The appointment of Mistry again known as Rahul’s man comes when the Congress has to meet the election commission deadline of December 31 to com plete its organisational polls.
On the other hand, Mistry’s detractors see the move as a demotion given that he has been divested of all organisationa responsibilities. He had earlier been divested of the charge of UP with party veteran Ghulam Nab Azad replacing him. Despite being in alliance with the Samaj wadi Party, the Congress badly lost the recent elections.
(Left) Digvijaya Singh no longer Goa, Karnataka party incharge; (right) Madhusudan Mistry axed asgeneral secretary.