Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday appointed Jai Prakash Agarwal as the party in-charge for Madhya Pradesh replacing Mukul Wasnik. However, Wasnik will continue as All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and will also oversee the party’s organisational matters.
“Congress president has accepted the request of Mukul Wasnik to relieve him from his current responsibility as general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, so that he can oversee other organisational matters,” an official communication from the party said on Thursday.
“Congress president has appointed Jai Prakash Agarwal as AICC in-charge of Madhya Pradesh with immediate effect,” it added.
Party sources said Wasnik had requested to be relieved from the responsibility following his nomination to the Rajya Sabha.
The development comes in the backdrop of rumours that Wasnik’s name was being considered for the post of Congress president. While there is no official word on it, Wasnik is being seen as a back-up candidate if Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders like Ashok Gehlot refuse to take up the responsibility.
The Congress party has announced internal elections, setting the stage for a contest for the first time in over two decades for the post of party president. While Rahul Gandhi has so far refused to take up the post, his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which clashes with the elections, is being seen as setting the stage for his return to the helm of party affairs.
The internal elections in the Congress have been ridden with controversy with several senior party leaders raising questions over the claims of transparency in the poll process. Several top leaders including Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor have openly opposed the decision by the party’s apex poll committee against making electoral rolls public.
The Congress elections come at a time amid several high-profile exits from the party. The most prominent among them, veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, quit stating that the Congress was being run by a “new coterie of inexperienced sycophants”. The 73-year-old leader was associated with the Congress for nearly five decades.
Apart from him, Jaiveer Shergill, Kapil Sibal, former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, RPN Singh, former law minister Ashwani Kumar, Gujarat leader Hardik Patel, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh have also quit the Congress party in the recent past.