Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was on Friday appointed General Secretary in charge of organisation and training at the AICC, virtually dimming his chances of becoming Chief Minister if the party wins the Assembly elections in Rajasthan this year end.
He replaces another veteran Janardhan Dwivedi, 73, who was holding charge of organisation and training as General Secretary from 2007.
The re-designation of 67-year-old Gehlot, who is already a General Secretary, is being seen as a signal that the party may prefer 41-year-old Sachin Pilot as probable chief ministerial candidates in Rajasthan. Gehlot was Chief Minister of the state from 1998 to 2003 and from 2008 to 2013.
Gehlot, who was close to Congress President Rahul Gandhi and worked with him closely in the recent Gujarat Assembly elections, had won praise for the Congress’ good show in the Gujarat elections, in which it had won 77 seats up from 61.
While appointing Gehlot as the new General Secretary in charge of the organisation, a note from the Congress President said: “The party appreciates the hardwork and contribution of Janardan Dwivedi, who will be stepping down from his responsibility as AICC General Secretary”.
Dwivedi, who is a senior functionary, held various positions in the party before becoming the General Secretary in 2004. Dwivedi, who was also a Rajya Sabha member from 2012 to 2018, had been sidelined for quite some time.
Interestingly, he had drawn attention with a statement in his farewell speech in the Rajya Sabha in which he had said that he had great respect for those who have risen after being born in humble names, taken as an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, Gandhi appointed Rajeev Satav as the party in-charge of Gujarat in place of Ashok Gehlot and Jitendra Singh its pointsman in Odisha, replacing B.K. Hariprasad.
Satav, who is now the party’s Gujarat in-charge, is an MP from Hingoli in Maharashtra. Gandhi’s close aide Jitendra Singh, a former Union Minister of State for Home, replaces Hariprasad in Odisha where assembly polls are scheduled next year.
“The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of B.K. Hariprasad who will be stepping down from his responsibility as AICC General Secretary in-charge, Odisha,” said a statement.
Gandhi has also appointed Lalji Desai as the Chief Organiser of the All India Congress Seva Dal in place of Mahendra Joshi.
“The party recognises the hard work and contribution of Mahendra Joshi who is stepping down from his responsibility as Chief Organiser of the Congress Seva Dal,” said another statement.