New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Six months after she was re-elected Congress president, Sonia Gandhi Friday reconstituted the party’s working committee and her team of central office-bearers, retaining key functionaries like Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Digvijay Singh, and making changes in states, including trouble-torn Andhra Pradesh.
Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Digvijay Singh, the new working committee – the party’s highest decision-making body – includes senior leaders Pranab Mukerjee, A.K. Antony, Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Janardan Dwivedi, Mukul Wasnik, B.K. Hariprasad and Ambika Soni.
Dwivedi, who announced the working committee and office-bearers, said some vacancies had been kept in the panel.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will have 19 members, 17 permanent invitees and five special invitees.
The office-bearers include nine general secretaries, eight state in-charges and 33 secretaries.
Vora will continue as party treasurer and Ahmed Patel as political secretary to the Congress president.
The new CWC members include former union minister Oscar Fernandes, former Haryana minister Birender Singh, former MPs Dhani Ram Shandil and Madhusudan Mistry, Hemo Prova Saikia from Assam and Orissa MP Sushila Tiriya.
Home Minister P.Chidambaram has been included in the working committee as a permanent invitee.
The party has retained Health Minister Azad and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik as general secretaries. Party secretary Mohan Prakash has been elevated as a permanent invitee to the working committee and given charge of the crucial states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.
Party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed has also been included in the working committee as a permanent invitee, along with Gulchain Singh Charak from Jammu and Kashmir.
Shakeel Ahmed has also been made in-charge of the election-bound state of West Bengal, as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Jharkhand and Charak of Bihar, Punjab and Chandigarh. Shandil has been given charge of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
K. Keshava Rao, a member of parliament, was earlier in-charge of West Bengal, where assembly polls will be held in April-May.
Azad has been given charge of Andhra Pradesh, which is seeing an agitation for a separate Telangana state. He replaces Law Minister M. Veerapa Moily and will continue to be in-charge of poll-bound Tamil Nadu apart from Puducherry.
Digvijay Singh will continue to be general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
Madhusudan Mistry will be in-charge of poll-bound Kerala, apart from Karnataka and Lakshadweep. Mohsina Kidwai, a member of parliament, who was previously in-charge of Kerala, has now been made in-charge of the Mahila Congress.
Rahul Gandhi will continue to be general secretary in-charge of Youth Congress and National Students Union of India.
Permanent invitees to the working committee include Karan Singh, M.L. Fotedar, R.K. Dhawan, S.C. Jamir, Shivajirao Deshmukh, Beni Prasad Verma, M.V. Rajasekharan, Ajit Jogi, Jagdish Tytler, Jagmeet Singh Brar and Luizinho Faleiro.
Fernandes, who was chairman of the party’s central election authority, has been made a general secretary along with Mistry and has been given charge of AICC meetings, sessions, CWC meetings, AICC departments and Central Election Committee.
Hariprasad has been given states of Chattisgarh and Haryana and continues to be general secretary in charge of Madhya Pradesh.
Birender Singh has been given charge of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Dwivedi has been given charge of organisation, organisational elections, training programmes and coordination.
Wasnik, who was incharge of Bihar during the assembly polls last year, will stay as in-charge of Rajasthan.
Tytler has been given charge of Orissa and Congress Seva Dal, while Brar has been given charge of Goa, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Faleiro, who was part of the earlier team of office-bearers, has been given charge of Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.
Dwivedi said that AICC departments will be constituted by the party president in the next few days.