Sonia defers induction of new general secretaries

By Kushal Jeena New Delhi, Hardnews

The Congress president Sonia Gandhi seems to have deferred the induction of new general secretaries till the February 8 block-level meeting of the party, as the whole party set up is
currently engaged in the preparations.

It would be a very small exercise in which two to three senior leaders could be taken in as new party general secretaries. They include former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad, J B
Patnaik and S M Krishna. There are indications that Krishna might not be inducted as he is more inclined to join the government at the Centre, said a senior party functionary.

Earlier, the announcement for the induction was to take place on January 14. It was withheld on the ground that party leaders and workers are busy with preparations of the meeting of the presidents of
districts and blocks of the party, which is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on February 8. This meeting, which is being held after a gap of four years, assumes significance in the backdrop of forthcoming general elections.

Azad could be entrusted with the charge of handling the party affairs in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat where the party has been facing the upheaval task of countering Mayawati's BSP and Narendra Modi's
BJP respectively. Presently, party general secretary Digvijay Singh holds the charge of UP. He is expected to be given the charge of his home state of Madhya Pradesh where reports coming in have suggested that the party might not improve its tally of the last Lok Sabha poll results.

Initially, Azad who has been general secretary for eight times, didn't show inclination to become general secretary for the record ninth time. However, he was persuaded by Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to the Congress President. The former Orissa chief minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik, who was last week relieved as the leader of the Congress Legislative Party in the state assembly, could be
accommodated in the central party organisation, as the state is to hold both Lok Sabha and assembly elections simultaneously.

The former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna is reported to have told the party high command about his preference as a cabinet minister in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government than the party general secretary citing his old age as a reason for not being able to serve the party. His name was also doing the rounds when Shivraj Patil was asked to put in his papers in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.