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AICC reshuffle on the cards

Anointed number two in Congress, Rahul Gandhi is expected to bring in a blend of youth and experience in a reshuffle of AICC office bearers to prepare for next year`s Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi: Anointed number two in Congress, Rahul Gandhi is expected to bring in a blend of youth and experience in a reshuffle of AICC office bearers to prepare for next year`s Lok Sabha elections.
The reshuffle, said to be long overdue, is expected "anytime now", party leaders feel.

With Rahul Gandhi making clear that changes in functioning of the party will be brought gradually and by taking everybody along, there are indications that the upcoming reshuffle will a balance of youth and experience.

Ambika Soni is expected to get a major assignment in the expansion cum reshuffle of the AICC secretariat.

It is being keenly watched what responsibility is given to party general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is in-charge of Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

The talk in party circles is that another general secretary Mukul Wasnik could be moved to Maharashtra as the PCC chief at a time when the party is seeking a replacement for Manikrao Thakre.

With Rahul`s elevation as Vice President, there are currently nine general secretaries, eight independent in-charges of states and 34 AICC secretaries.

Jeetendra Singh, Meenakshi Natarajan, Shanimol Osman and Ashok Tanwar are among the secretaries who are likely to see changes and elevation in their responsibilities.

The PCC chiefs of many states including of Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand are likely to be replaced.

Several young Congress MPs and Youth Congress office- bearers, groomed by 42-year-old Rahul, could get prominent responsibilities in the AICC reshuffle.

Names of Karnataka Youth Congress chief Krishna Byre Gowda and MPs Jyoti Mirdha, Manicka Tagore and Deepender Hooda are doing rounds for key party positions.

Bihar PCC chief Mehboob Ali Kaiser resigned in 2010 after the party lost badly in assembly elections. Jharkhand PCC chief Pradip Balmuchu is now a Rajya Sabha member.

Virbhadra Singh resigned as Himachal Pradesh PCC chief after coming Chief Minister and there is an acting PCC chief in his place now.

Among the general secretaries who are likely to be shifted out are AICC in-charge for Bihar and Punjab Gulchain Singh Charak and Dhani Ram Shandil, who is now Social Justice and Empowerment Minister in the Himachal Pradesh government.

When a new leader comes, he comes with his team is the general refrain in the party, though Rahul has repeatedly made it clear that it won`t be any kind of `youth takeover` of the party that is going to happen after his arrival.

The Jaipur conclave saw demands that youths should be represented more in the party organisation in view of the changing demographic profile of the country.

Soon after the elevation of Rahul, Youth Congress chief Rajiv Satav had said in Jaipur that with the advent of Rahul, youth era has dawned in the party.

In his speech in the AICC meeting, Satav said, "This is the country`s oldest party and it is going to become the youngest party."

A senior party leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the reshuffle is the next natural thing to happen after Rahul`s appointment as Vice President but refused to commit on a timeline.


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