Warming up for LS polls, AICC picks PCC heads, forms committees

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (UNI) Gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections, All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Sonia Gandhi today appointed Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Senior Congress leader and legislator from Dabhoi, Siddharth Patel has replaced Bharatsinh Solanki as the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) chief.

Solanki aided the revival of an ailing Congress in the state, leading a fight against the formidable BJP, particularly Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Senior party leader and former speaker Kaul Singh Thakur took over as the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president, months after Viplove Thakur resigned from the post following the party's defeat in the last Assembly elections.

Mr K V Thangkabalu, MP, was appointed Tamil Nadu PCC chief.

Mr Thangabalu, who became the TNCC Chief in 1997, was a staunch loyalist of late Sanjay Gandhi and later became the loyalist of Ms Gandhi. He is known for his friendly relations with a spectrum of political leaders in the state, including AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa.

Ms Gandhi also appointed Mr Tusharbhai Choudhary, MP, and Mr Kunwarjibhai Mohanbhai Bavalia, MLA, as working presidents in Gujarat, AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said in a release.

Working on the canvas of Left parties' threat to withdraw support over the Indo-US nuclear deal the All India Congress Committee also announced setting up of campaign and manifesto comittees.

The campaign committee would be headed by Ms Sonia Gandhi with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its vice-chairperson, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several Union Ministers are its members.

The other members of the committee include Union Ministers A K Antony, Arjun Singh, party media cell chairman M Veerappa Moily and Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi.

AICC general secreteries in charge of states and frontal organisations will also form part of the committee, where PCC presidents and Congres Legislature Party leaders will be invited over discussion of state-related issues.

The 21-membered manifesto committee to be headed by Mr Pranab Mukherjee would have on board AICC general secretary and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, HRD Minister Arjun Singh, MP Sachin Pilot and Union Minister of state for communication and Information Technolgy Jyotiraditya Scindia.

UNI team AKJ BD2030

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