Congress plans to tell many of its talking heads to go fight elections

PriyankaPriyanka Gandhi on Tuesday attended a meeting of top Congress leaders at Rahulís house called to draw up the tour schedule of the Congress president and vice president. (PTI Photo)

Gearing to fight a tough Lok Sabha polls in just three months' time, the Congress is working on an elaborate plan to effect changes in the AICC, which could see many of its senior general secretaries being eased out of organisational responsibilities of key states so that they can be fielded as candidates in the polls.

As a corollary, some ministers will return to the party, top sources said.

They said the rejig could take place in the days after the January 17 AICC session. congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is also expected to formally launch his campaign after the session, they said.

The party has already hinted at naming Gandhi as its PM candidate although the timing is not yet final. Significantly, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Tuesday attended a meeting of top Congress leaders at Rahul's house called to draw up the tour schedule of the Congress president and vice president.

Although party sources ruled out her contesting the elections or campaigning nationwide, her presence at the meeting triggered speculation about whether she was set to play a more active role in the party ahead of the elections.

Sources, however, said Priyanka joined the meeting - attended by Ahmed Patel, Ajay Maken, Janardan Dwivedi, Jairam Ramesh and Mohan Gopal - towards the end and suggested that not much should not be read into it.

"Priyanka Gandhi is a member of an important political family. May be she is not seen as participating in active politics, but she has been an active member of the Indian National Congress for long. She has been looking after election work in Amethi and Raebareli and she is still doing that. She has her own opinions on political issues and she has been discussing with party workers from time to time. It is not surprising if she has talked to senior leaders of the party on these issues. What is new in it?" Dwivedi said. Party sources said the leadership wants senior AICC general secretaries and some other office-bearers to contest elections. Many such as Digvijaya Singh and B K Hariprasad have already expressed their willingness to contest. The sources, however, added that the view of individual office-bearers about contesting would be sought.

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