GUWAHATI: Ahmed Patel, one of the senior leaders of the Congress on Saturday formally took charge as the new treasurer of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).
The Congress leader from Gujarat, who has been known as a key resource mobilizer for the party replaced Motilal Vora while taking charge as the new treasurer.
Notably, Patel has been installed in the post at a time when there are reports that the party is running on overdraft for about Rs 100 crore. Hence, the Congress has been of late facing a severe resource crunch.
Motilal Vora has been managing the party's coffers for a long time while Patel has long been the political secretary of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi who had also served as party's treasure earlier. Patel is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha. Contrary, Vora has been made the general secretary in charge of administration.
On the other hand, AICC president Rahul Gandhi also appointed former Union minister Anand Sharma as the chairperson of the party's foreign affairs department replacing Karan Singh while, Luizinho Salerio was appointed as AICC general secretary in-charge of north-eastern states, excluding Assam, replacing CP Joshi. Moreover, former speaker Meira Kumar has been made a permanent invite to the Congress working committee, the highest decision-making body of the party.
Patel, who was a key operator during the UPA’s rule during 2004-14, was also recently named a member of the reconstituted Congress Working Committee. Rahul Gandhi, who has been pushing for generational change in the Congress, zeroed in on Patel after he countered BJP chief Amit Shah’s attempts to defeat him in the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat last year.
Patel also reportedly played an important role in Gujarat assembly elections in which Congress party performed exceptionally well. Since Congress party has been facing a financial crunch, Patel assuming charge as the party's treasurer is likely to boost its coffers.
Moreover, his appointment also assumes political significance as the party aims to take on a formidable BJP led by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the upcoming polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, and the Lok Sabha elections in April 2019.