Who is Kopulla Raju – Rahul’s Gandhi’s ‘Ahmed Patel’ to head Congress president’s core team

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Published: January 26, 2018 1:35:32 PM

Kopulla Raju, chief of AICC's Schedule Caste department, is all set to head the core team of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

A former bureaucrat, Raju is considered as a very close aide of Gandhi and is said to be handpicked by him for the post.

Kopulla Raju, chief of AICC’s Schedule Caste department, is all set to head the core team of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. A former bureaucrat, Raju is considered as a very close aide of Gandhi and is said to be handpicked by him for the post. Going by the tradition, the 61-year-old Raju will now operate from the Congress president’s 12 Tughlaq Lane residence. Last time Raju made headlines in August 2013, when he was appointed as the head of party’s SC unit.

In a November 2015, The Indian Express in ‘Inside Track’ column reported that Congress members refer to Raju as Rahul’s Ahmed Patel. A 1981 batch IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, he resigned from his service in 2013 and got a lateral entry into the AICC. Earlier, he was working as a special secretary in the Andhra Pradesh government. At that time too, it was reported that Raju was handpicked by Gandhi. As per the report, Raju had joined Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Committee as joint secretary in 2010 and continued with the Gandhi-led panel after promotion as additional secretary earlier this year till July. Before his stint in Delhi, Raju had served in various capacities in Andhra Pradesh including as principal secretary in the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s office.

Raju is also known for his proximity to many Dalit MLAs cutting across party lines and is instrumental in drafting party’s SC outreach. He is believed to be the man behind drafting Congress’ 2015 campaign to belatedly claim the legacy of B R Ambedkar soon after taking the office of Congress SC cell chief. It is reported that Raju persuaded Rahul after his long vacation to visit Mhow, Ambedkar’s birthplace, as part of Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations.

Raju will play in key role in the strategy making team of Gandhi, who recently succeeded his mother Sonia Gandhi as party president, who remained in the post for 19 years. The CEA received a total of 89 nomination papers proposing Rahul Gandhi’s name for the top post. All the nomination papers were found to be valid, Ramachandran said

“Since the withdrawal of date/time is over and as there is only one candidate (Rahul), as per Article XVII (d) of the Constitution of Indian National Congress, I hereby declare Shri Rahul Gandhi elected as president of the Indian National Congress,” Ramachandran said. Rahul Gandhi became the vice-president of the party in January 2013.

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