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Sonia Gandhi makes mark, old guard to the forefront

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New Delhi, Oct 24, 2019-

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has hailed the results of the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly polls and bypolls in Punjab saying “We really won the show, with a little more effort, we would have won”.

The party did not campaign much in Haryana. Only Rahul Gandhi campaigned for two days in the BJP ruled state.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is in Rae Bareli, said, “I am really happy for both the states. We are also happy about the fact that here in UP our vote percentage has increased.”

“Sonia Gandhi taking centrestage has come with good news. Though Congress could not form the government, the results are encouraging,” said K. C. Venugopal, General Secretary of the Congress.

When Rahul decided to quit as the party president after the Lok Sabha election verdict, the party was hard put to find a replacement.

However, Sonia Gandhi, who took over as interim Congress president in August this year, did not campaign at all and her only rally scheduled for Maharashtra was also cancelled.

Rahul addressed rallies in Nuh and Mahendragarh in Haryana and Congress won both the seats. The supporters of the former Congress president say if Rahul had campaigned more, the Congress would have won more seats.

The Haryana Assembly results show that the Congress old guard was right in choosing former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to lead the party in the state.

The grand old party proved all exit polls wrong by catapulting itself close to a majority.

The old guard that includes Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel had major roles in the selection of the new party setup in Haryana. Both Hooda and state unit President Kumari Selja are close to senior leader Ahmed Patel.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s appointee Ashok Tanwar has now left the party.

In Maharashtra too, the party replaced former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at the helm with Balasaheb Thorat. In the Mumbai unit, the party appointed Eknath Gaikwad as the acting president after Milind Deora resigned from the post following the Lok Sabha poll debacle.

These moves appear to indicate that the Congress is returning to the Sonia era. While the choice of the younger lot for Delhi Congress chief was either Alka Lamba or Kirti Azad, the party appointed veteran Subhash Chopra to the post.

The dissolution of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) on Wednesday also speaks of the old guard having its way in key decisions.  (Agency)

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