Rahul reshuffle: Natarajan in charge of YC, NSUI elections

Nearly four years after he started the process of democratisation in the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) by holding organisational elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has taken the next step forward by expanding the role and functions of these wings. In the process, he has also re-distributed the 'portfolios' of his secretaries, the biggest gainer of which is Mandsaur MP Meenakshi Natarajan, who has been entrusted with the charge of IYC and NSUI elections.

Jitendra Singh, who was AICC secretary in charge of IYC, has been given charge of training for both organisations. AICC secretary Deepak Babaria, a Congress leader from Gujarat who was recently attached with Rahul, has been assigned to look after Pehchaan, a web-based networking portal for IYC and NSUI members on which they can create their profiles and update the status of their works for their senior leaders in the states and in New Delhi to appraise them and reward them in future as per their performance. Shanimol Usman, who was also attached with Rahul, has been entrusted to get the two wings to work for "weaker sections".

The enhancement in Natarajan's profile came as a surprise to many as her tenure as in-charge of NSUI had witnessed a downslide in the organisation's clout on campuses, even though Rahul made efforts to reach out to students through his interactive sessions in colleges and universities. The NSUI has been getting a drubbing in students' union elections in different campuses, including its stronghold of Delhi University.

Since taking over as AICC general secretary in September 2007, Rahul was focusing on the democratisation process to draw youth to politics through his Talent Hunt programmes and membership drives leading to internal elections in the students and youth wings of the party. As the focus remained on elections, the elected Youth Congress and NSUI units in states were perceived to have fallen short of expectations in terms of reaching out to people through programmatic actions.

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