Avinash Pande appointed general secretary incharge of Rajasthan Congress

The Congress on Thursday appointed Avinash Pande as the new General Secretary incharge of Rajasthan Congress, while also bringing in new chiefs for its Uttarakhand and Punjab units.

PTI| Last Updated: May 04, 2017, 21:34 PM IST

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday appointed Avinash Pande as the new General Secretary incharge of Rajasthan Congress, while also bringing in new chiefs for its Uttarakhand and Punjab units.

While former minister Sunil Jakhar was appointed the new PCC chief for Punjab, replacing Amarinder Singh, who became the chief minister; four-time legisltor Pritam Singh was made the new Uttarakhand Congress chief, replacing Kishore Upadhyay.

The party also appointed Vivek Tankha, a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh as the new AICC Secretary incharge of Legal and Human Rights department, replacing K C Mittal.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice chief Rahul Gandhi appointed a total of 17 new office-bearers to the party, including 10 below the age of 50 years, and giving adequate representations to OBCs, SCs and other sections.

Announcing the new appointments, AICC incharge of Communications department Randeep Surjewala said the changes herald new leadership, respect for senior leadership, utilisation of experience of seniors, giving youthful energy and role and responsibilities to the young, which is part of Congress' evolutionary process.

"We do not reject people with credibility and experience and send them to 'Kop-Bhawan' or as 'Margdarshak Mandal'," he said, taking a dig at BJP for appointing its senior leaders like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to advisory groups.

Jakhar, a 'Hindu' face, has been a CLP leader in Punjab and is considered close to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Jakhar, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar, has been a minister in the Congress government in Punjab, but lost in the last assembly elections.

The newly appointed Uttarakhand party chief Pritam Singh has been a former state minister and was elected as a legislator from Chakrata assembly seat recently.

AICC Secretary Avinash Pande, a former Rajya Sabha member and former legislator from Maharashtra, will be the new general secretary incharge for Rajasthan, which goes to polls next year.

He replaces Gurudas Kamat, who was earlier removed as incharge of Gujarat and had urged Sonia Gandhi to free him of all other responsibilities as well.

Pande will be assisted by a team of four new AICC secretaries including Vivek Bansal, Qazi Mohammed Nizamuddin, Devendra Yadav and Tarun Kumar. While Bansal is from Uttar Pradesh, Nizamuddin is an MLA from Uttarakhand and Yadav and Tarun hail from New Delhi.

Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot was made the general secretary incharge for poll-bound Gujarat recently.

Surjewala said Gehlot was appointed PCC chief by late Rajiv Gandhi for 33 years.

"So, generational hand holding and continuation of a mixture of young and old has been an ideal mix presented by the Congress party from time to time," he said.

With the latest appointments, the party leadership has initiated restructuring in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Goa in two rounds.

Changes in some other units like Himachal Pradesh, which goes to polls later this year, and Haryana are underway and could be done anytime soon.

The party's organisational election process is also underway.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi's elevation as party chief, Surjewala said whenever the party leadership takes a decision in this matter, the media would be informed.

He recalled that even prior to independence, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose or other leaders became party presidents at a young age and that organisational changes and building leadership was a continuous process.