A day after the all powerful Election Coordination Committee of the Congress with Congress scion Rahul Gandhi at the helm, for the 2014 elections was constituted, eyebrows are being raised about those who have been selected as members. While the majority of the total 27 members comprising the three sub groups and the main committee have never fought a Lok Sabha election, they will be entrusted with overseeing the selection of the 543 candidates, election campaigning and overall strategy for the Lok Sabha elections. Again crucial organizational heavyweights like Ghulam Nabi Azad also Health minister have been left out of any of these groups gearing up for 2014.
Three of the six members of the Election Coordination Committee are Rajya Sabha members (Ahmed Patel, Janardan Dwivedi, Jairam Ramesh) with Rahul Gandhi being the only one who has fought Lok Sabha elections. Digvijay Singh the other member is a two time chief minister. “It is odd that the organization is entrusting the responsibility of the Lok sabha polls with people who have little experience of general elections,” said a political observer.
However, a senior Congress leader defending the choice of members insisted that in the Manifesto and government programmes sub – group for instance, there was a perfect mix with five members each of government representatives ie. ministers and party organization leaders.
What has however been left unsaid of the new order, is that senior leader Digvijay Singh, a close confidant of Rahul Gandhi being designated as the head of the Communications and Publicity group. Singh and the present AICC media incharge Janardan Dwivedi have more often than not been perceived to be at logger heads with each other, so how the two media chiefs will actually function is questionable.
The appointment of a ‘special invitee’, Dr. Mohan Gopal, from the Rajiv Gandhi foundation had many today asking about Gopal who was hardly known in Congress circles. Gopal, an Harvard alumnus, is expected to bring on board, his “academic insight” into the committee – formerly Director ( Vice Chancellor) National Law School of India, Mmeber in the World Bank, Member SEBI, member of the PM’s oversight committee on Affirmative action, he has worked in the party during late PM Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure.
The Election coordination committee may have been formally announced yesterday but it has already held one meeting with Rahul Gandhi at the helm.
The AICC reshuffle, which is on the cards possibly any time before the commencement of the Winter session on November 22, insiders say could see Rahul being officially designated as General Secretary in charge of Organisation, (a post presently held by Sonia Gandhi confidant Janardan Dwivedi ) with all party General Secreatries reporting to him.