Congress appoints new Karnataka, Delhi chiefs

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On the day former Lok Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia moved from it to the BJP, the Congress filled posts in Karnataka and Delhi that have been lying vacant. Party’s troubleshooter D.K. Shivakumar will head the Karnataka unit and former MLA Anil Chaudhary is the Delhi unit chief.

Mr. Shivakumar replaces Dinesh Gundu Rao as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief. This ends a long-drawn power tussle between him and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Mr. Rao, known to be a close associate of Mr. Siddaramaiah, was appointed as PCC president on the latter’s insistence, sources said.

The party has sought to maintain power balance between the various factions by ensuring that Mr. Siddaramaiah will continue as the chief of the legislative party and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

Eashwar Khandre, Satish Jharkiholi and Saleem Ahammed have been named working presidents of the State unit by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, a party statement said. Ajay Singh has been appointed as the chief whip in the Assembly, while Mr. Shivakumar’s loyalist, M. Narayanaswamy, will be the party’s chief whip in the Legislative Council.

Both Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Rao resigned in December last, taking responsibility for the party’s defeat in by-elections.

In Delhi, Mr. Chaudhary will lead the party now. Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Subash Chopra had resigned after the party scored a zero in the recent Assembly elections. The Congress’s vote share also dropped from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 4.27 per cent this time.

Mr. Chaudhary is one of the youngest party presidents that Delhi has got. The average age of the entire team in Delhi has been brought down with appointment of five vice-presidents – Abhishek Dutt, Shivani Chopra, Jaikishan, Mudit Agarwal and Ali Hassan.

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