The Indian National Congress on Sunday evening announced panels in the run-up to the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Polls and former Union minister Salman Khursheed has been tasked with the responsibility of heading the Manifesto Committee. In a key development, dissenters, including Jitin Prasada and former UP Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar, who were signatories to a letter to the party's interim president Sonia Gandhi, have been left out. However, Congressmen Nirmal Khatri and Naseeb Pathan, who had criticised the letter writers have been assigned key responsibilities.
A look at the newly announced committees reveals that the party has carefully worked out a medley of veterans and young leaders. Last year, during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the then Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi had announced that his sister Priyanka Gandhi has been given the task of reviving the party in the state from where it traces its origins. Rahul had expressed confidence in his sister and said that Congress would play a crucial role in government formation in the state in 2022.
Congress loyalist and former Union minister Salman Khursheed will be leading the team creating the party's manifesto for polls. Other names in the Manifesto Committee include PL Punia, Aradhana Mishra Mona, Vivek Bansal, Supriya Srinate and Amitabh Dubey. The Outreach Committee comprises veteran leader Pramod Tiwari, Pradip Jain Aditya, Gajraj Singh, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Imran Masood, Bal Kumar Patel. Meanwhile, the Membership Committee will include Anugrah Narayan Singh, Ajay Kapoor, BL Khabri, Mohd Muqeem, Kamal Kishor Commando and Ajay Rai.
The Programme Implementation Committee of the party will include Noor Bano, Harender Malik, Praveen Aron, Jitendra Singh, Balkrishna Chauhan, Naseeb Pathan, Banshi Pahadia, Ram Jiyawan and Preeta Harit, while the Training and Cadre Development Committee has former UPCC Chief Nirmal Khatri, Harendra Agarwal, Hanuman Tripathi, Satish Rai, Dolly Sharma and Keshav Chand Yadav.
Keeping in the mind the upcoming Panchayat polls in the state, the Congress has also announced Panchayat Raj Election Committee, comprising of Rajesh Misha, Zafar Ali Naqvi, Rajaram Pal, Pradeep Mathur, Vinod Chaturvedi, Masood Akhtar and Ajay Pal Singh. The Media and Communication Advisory Committee will include veterans like Rashid Alvi, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, Virendra Madan along with Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, Surendra Rajput and Omkar Singh.
In an unprecedented move in the history of Indian National Congress, 23 senior leaders wrote a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi last month, asking her for “sweeping changes” in the party. The list included five former chief ministers, sitting MPs Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, members of Congress Working Committee and over a dozen former union ministers with years of political experience.