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Published On: Thu, Aug 27th, 2020

Sonia Gandhi Takes Big Decisions That Sideline “G-23”

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sonia 28NEW DELHI : In one of the first acts to keep the Congress leaders who signed the “dissident” letter that set off a major storm under check, party chief Sonia Gandhi has appointed Jairam Ramesh as the chief whip.
She has formed a committee in the Rajya Sabha with Congress party’s treasurer and her political advisor Ahmed Patel and another loyalist KC Venugopal as members of the committee to deal with issues that may come up in the Rajya Sabha.

This new committee will effectively sideline and keep under check the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Deputy Leader Anand Sharma. Both the leaders had played a critical role in writing the letter and instrumental in ensuring not many Rajya Sabha leaders come out in support of Sonia Gandhi.
To show this is not being done exclusively to sideline the dissenters, Sonia Gandhi has appointed a similar committee in the Lok Sabha, with Gaurav Gogoi as the Deputy Leader and Ravneet Singh Bittu as a whip. Both leaders are believed to close supporters of the Gandhi family.
Sonia Gandhi has also ensured other letter-writers like Manish Tewari and Shashi Tharoor in the Lok Sabha are ignored. Both Mr Tiwari and Mr Tharoor are excellent orators and have lost out because of being signatories, sources said.
With this decision, the days of leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma appear to be numbered as the leaders of the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha but top aides say Sonia Gandhi will wait for the monsoon season to end before ordering a change.
The government is planning to bring in 11 ordinances in the 18-day monsoon session of Parliament beginning September 14. If any ordinance lapses, the government can re-promulgate it.

In another decision, Sonia Gandhi named former general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande as chairman of the party’s screening committee for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections. Pande’s removal from Rajasthan was a key demand of party rebel legislators led by former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.
Pande will be assisted in shortlisting party candidates for the Bihar polls by two young leaders, Devender Yadav and Qazi Nizamuddin. The decisions came two days after a stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting that asked Sonia Gandhi to stay on as party chief until a new president is elected.
The CWC members also came down heavily on 23 dissenters who in a letter written to Gandhi had, among other things, sought a complete overhaul of the organisation, a full-time and active president, and a parliamentary board.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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