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In Cong rejig, Rahul Gandhi gives Ashok Gehlot key post

In Cong rejig, Rahul Gandhi gives Ashok Gehlot key post

"Rahul Gandhi has maintained that he will use the experience of seniors and energy of young leaders in reviving the Congress", Gehlot said.

As part of the process of restructuring of the organisational structure of the Congress, party president Rahul Gandhi on Friday appointed senior party leader Ashok Gehlot as the AICC general secretary in-charge for the organisaiton replacing Janardhan Dwivedi, one time confidant of Sonia Gandhi.

The move is seen as a timely action by Rahul Gandhi, to close the subject on who will lead the party into elections, come winter.

Mr. Dwivedi was also part of a four-member committee that was managing the day-to-day running of the party in the absence of Sonia Gandhi as the then Congress president, when she went overseas for treatment.

It is also believed within party circles that Gehlot is the party's formidable face in Rajasthan and a strong contender for the chief ministerial candidate in the state, which is scheduled to go to the polls in December this year.

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The appointment of Gehlot will not only make way for smooth elevation of Pilot as chief minister of Rajasthan if the Congress wins the state, but will also enrich the party at the national level in view of Gehlot's vast experience.

Congress leaders pointed out that the Congress Working Committee is usually reconstituted soon after a plenary session.

But instead of putting in place the party's top decision-making body, Rahul Gandhi has chosen to appoint office bearers. Additionally, Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Deb, also a member of Rahul Gandhi's inner team, was appointed chief of the Mahila Congress. To that extent, Gehlot's appointment would be a relief for Sonia Gandhi loyalists who had not only resisted Rahul Gandhi's elevation but worked actively to put him down.

The changes in the party are in line with Gandhi's slogan of "grand old young party". Dwiwedi, in May 2009, took charge from Veerappa Moily as Manager of Media Department of Congress in addition to serving as the party General Secretary. A former bureaucrat, Raju has been Rahul Gandhi's chief ideologue for some years now, but he is not known to be in the same league as Patel.