Initiating changes in the Congress, party chief Sonia Gandhi today removed senior leader Digvijay Singh as party’s general secretary in-charge of poll- bound Karnataka and Goa and replaced him with Rahul-loyalist K C Venugopal in the southern state.
Gandhi also elevated AICC secretary A Chella Kumar as incharge of Goa, replacing Singh who was embroiled in a fiasco in government formation in the coastal state.
Another party leader Madhusudan Mistry ceased to be a general secretary after he was made a member of the party’s Central Election Authority for holding the organisational polls later this year.
“Congress President Sonia Gandhi has assigned the tasks of looking after Karnataka and Goa affairs to new AICC teams.
While K C Venugopal has been made general secretary incharge of Karnataka, A Chella Kumar has been made AICC incharge of Goa,” party general secretary Janaradan Dwivedi said in a statement.
Venugopal, the Lok Sabha MP from Alappuzha in Kerala and the party’s deputy whip in the Lok Sabha, is a confidante of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
He will be assisted by four secretaries to take care of Karnataka affairs–Manickam Tagore, PC Vishnunadh, Madhu Yashki Goud and Sake Sailjanath.
In Goa, where the party failed to form its government despite getting 17 seats, Chella Kumar has been made the AICC incharge of Goa, while Amit Deshmukh will be the Secretary AICC of the state.
As Congress’s Goa unit incharge, Singh failed in government formation while the BJP retained power after getting only 13 seats.
Singh’s inaction evoked widespread criticism within the party, which had accused the BJP of creating an “artificial majority” to form its government.
Though removal of Singh, considered close to the Gandhis has shocked many, he continues to be general secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Meanwhile, Mistry also ceased to be the party’s general secretary as he was made a member of the Central Election Authority.
“The Congress president has approved the composition of the Central Organisational Election Authority of the AICC.
Mullapally Ramachandran will be its Chairman and Bhubaneshwar Kalita and Madhusudan Mistry will be its members,” Dwivedi said in another statement.
“Since Mistry has become the member of Central Election Authority, he will not hold any organisational post as per the party’s Constitution,” the statement said.
Gandhi also formed an Advisory Committee of CEA in which Shamsher Singh Dullo, Rajya Sabha MP, Ashk Ali Taq, former MP and Biren Singh Engti, MP, have been made members.
Gandhi had earlier appointed former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as party’s general secretary incharge of Gujarat, slated to go to polls later this year, removing party leader Gurudas Kamat from the post.
Some more changes are expected in other states like Himachal Pradesh which goes to polls later this year along with Gujarat.
Singh had recently said that “not having a pre-poll alliance with the Goa Forward Party” was a “mistake”.
“Our mistake was not to go for a pre-poll alliance with the Goa Forward headed by Vijay Sardesai which was seen to be anti Parrikar and BJP (sic),” he had said.