Venu­gopal to re­place Digvi­jaya as head of Con­gress in Goa and poll-bound Kar­nataka

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Au­rangzeb Naqsh­bandi

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.

HT FILE

(Left) Digvi­jaya Singh no longer Goa, Kar­nataka party in­charge; (right) Mad­husu­dan Mistry axed as­gen­eral sec­re­tary.

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