Six months after facing a defeat in the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress party has announced a minor reshuffle in its organization, appointing veteran leader and Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil as the new president of the Gujarat unit. This move comes as the party strives to revive its fortunes in the region.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also made another key appointment, naming Varsha Gaikwad as the president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.
Gaikwad replaces Bhai Jagtap, who assumed the position in December 2020. Notably, Jagtap had taken over from former MP Eknath Gaikwad, a former minister and Varsha Gaikwad’s father.
In addition to these appointments, the Congress party selected former Chief Minister V Vaithilingam as the president of the Puducherry Congress.
These strategic changes in leadership aim to revivie the party and strengthen its presence in crucial states.
Shaktisinh Gohil has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi within the Gujarat Congress. Despite various leadership experiments by the Congress over the years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to dominate the state’s political landscape.
In 2018, the Congress appointed a young leader Amit Chavda as the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president.
However, after Chavda resigned from the post following the party’s poor performance in the Gujarat local body polls, veteran Jagdish Thakor (64) took over in 2021. Now, with Gohil assuming the role, the party hopes to revitalize its presence in Gujarat ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Gohil’s close association with the late Congress leader Ahmed Patel is well known. He served as Patel’s election agent during the closely contested Rajya Sabha election in 2017. Now, Gohil faces the challenging task of rejuvenating the Congress party in the crucial state of Gujarat.
Meanwhile, Varsha Gaikwad’s appointment holds great significance as she takes charge of leading the party into the upcoming elections for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Lok Sabha. It is noteworthy that the Congress currently does not hold a single parliamentary seat among Mumbai’s six constituencies.
Gaikwad, a four-term Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Mumbai’s Dharavi constituency, is a prominent Dalit leader within the party. She becomes the first woman president of the Congress’s Mumbai unit and is recognized for her impassioned speeches. Gaikwad had previously served as a minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.
Congress leader Deepak Babaria has been assigned the role of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Haryana and Delhi, replacing Shaktisinh Gohil. Babaria had previously held the position of in-charge for Madhya Pradesh.
This organizational reshuffle signifies the Congress party’s efforts to strengthen its presence in key states and improve its electoral prospects. With the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2024, the party aims to reclaim its political standing and present a formidable challenge to its opponents.
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