Change of guard

Change of guard
Wasnik’s fate uncertain
The Congress simply does not learn from its mistakes. After having been thrashed in Bihar and getting much less in Rajasthan, thanks to a faulty ticket distribution system for which Mukul Wasnik has been blamed by party workers in both states, he has now been given temporary charge of States going to the ballots in the North-East. The North-Eastern States were earlier under the charge of Col Dhani Ram Shandil, who was the AICC state in-charge of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. Shandil is from Himachal Pradesh and in the recent assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, he contested and won, and has now been made a minister in the Virbhadra Singh government. And in Delhi, he was made a CWC member in charge of crucial States. However, very few know him and fewer have seen him in the AICC compound. While the party is yet to determine its candidates in Nagaland, where elections are due in March, it is feared that the going is tough for the Congress. At a meeting at the AICC headquarters soon after the Chintan Shivir, Wasnik was not present, probably because he had gone off to Nagaland. But, it was not only Wasnik who was absent. Out of the 67 office-bearers, 61 turned up. The absentees included AICC in-charge of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and the screening committee chairman for Uttar Pradesh, Mohan Prakash. The reasons for the latter not being present are not known. His appointment as chairman of the screening committee in UP had led to some bitter protests from Congress workers, who had complained to Rahul Gandhi that Prakash had joined the Congress after quitting the Janata Dal and that he didn’t even know most of the party workers and leaders in UP. The screening committee shortlists and prepares the names of candidates along with a panel to choose from. As far as Wasnik is concerned, a defeat in the North-Eastern states in March would be a reflection on the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, as they would be the first set of elections after he took over reins of the Congress Party as vice-president. This is even though the decision on giving temporary charge to Wasnik was taken before the elevation of Rahul Gandhi. Party leaders, however, say that Wasnik may finally be divested from the charge of Rajasthan as and when a reshuffle of the AICC takes place. Maybe the North-East will be his new calling or maybe he will return to Maharashtra as PCC chief. But what is clear is that the more things change in the Congress Party, the more they remain the same.g…Read More

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gfiles is the country's first independent magazine written, designed and produced for India's civil services—the vast and formidable network of bureaucracies and public sector organisations that provides continuity and stability to this nation's governance.
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