Is Mukul Wasnik getting a bigger role in Congress?

New Delhi:- After Mukul Wasnik was relieved from the post of Madhya Pradesh general secretary in-charge on Thursday, speculation is rife that Wasnik may be the Plan B for the Gandhis in case Ashok Gehlot is reluctant to contest. Another possibility is he may be made general secretary (organisation), a post currently held by KC Venugopal who is close to Rahul Gandhi.

Wasnik has long experience in the organisation as he started with the NSUI, the student wing of the Congress. He has been the longest serving general secretary and is from the Scheduled Caste community which could go in his favour.

Wasnik was one of the persons in the G-23 who wrote the letter to interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi for reforms in the party in 2019. When Rahul Gandhi resigned as party president he was the favourite of some leaders but the CWC decided on Sonia as interim president.

Thursday’s significant development came a few weeks ahead of the Congress president’s election. Shashi Tharoor and Prithviraj Chavan, former Maharashtra chief minister, could be candidates but sources said there is no clarity on it.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has emerged as the front runner for the Congress president’s post, being seen as the choice of interim chief Sonia Gandhi, even as some want the return of Rahul Gandhi – with Gehlot too proposing his name. The G-23, which was understood to have made up its mind to field a candidate if no Gandhi stood, is now less likely to do so as it it is uncertain that Sonia Gandhi’s choice will be challenged.

The last time the election was conducted for the Congress president’s post was in 2000 when Jitendra Prasada challenged Sonia Gandhi but lost.

While some G-23 leaders have left the party and some even joined the BJP while some others had distanced themselves, Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that he has been forced to leave and Manish Tewari has reiterated that he is not a tenant but a shareholder in the party. However, the G-23, after the exit of Azad, seems to have become rather leaderless.

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary, organisation, K.C. Venugopal said that the schedule for the party chief’s election has already been announced, and those who want to contest for the post should file the nomination before September 30.

A section of Congress leaders say that Rahul Gandhi should again take over as president, with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge saying that this is his personal opinion. Salman Khurshid has also expressed support for him.

Rahul Gandhi has indicated that he is not willing and instead, wants a non-Gandhi to be the party president.