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'Image, age, fighting spirit criteria in selecting new PCC chiefs'

Image, age, fighting spirit criteria in selecting new PCC chiefs

New Delhi: Congress considered three factors - clean image, youth and fighting spirit for appointment of PCC chiefs in West Bengal, Haryana and Kerala.

While Union Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who has been made the West Bengal PCC chief, is known for his aggressive stance against the Mamata Banerjee-led ruling Trinamool Congress in the state, the new Kerala Congress head was a clean man respected by all, said a senior leader who was involved in the exercise to find the new state presidents.

Marking a generational shift, the party has already brought in Sachin Pilot and Arun Yadav to head its units in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, respectively.

The new PCC chief for Haryana is young Dalit MP Ashok Tanwar. Tanwar has been a former NSUI and Youth Congress leader. He succeeded Phulchand Mulana, also a Dalit leader and a close associate of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Congress sources said that the party had considered caste equations in Kerala in selecting Sudheeran, who belongs to the numerically strong backward Ezhava community, for the PCC chief's post.

The 65-year-old leader, who has often taken on caste outfits in the state, is a leader acceptable to all sections of Kerala society.

He replaces Ramesh Chennithala, who was backed by the influential Nair community. Chennithala was last month made the Kerala Home Minister.

In choosing Sudheeran, the Congress high command has over- ruled Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Chennithala who were pressing for G Karthikeyan to be appointed to the PCC post. Karthikeyan is the Assembly Speaker.

The senior party leader, who did not want to be named, said that with the appointment of Chowdhury as WBPCC Chief, "it is now very clear that there would be no truck with Mamata" in West Bengal.

Chowdhury, the Minister of State for Railways, replaces Pradip Bhattacharya, MP, who was the acting WBPCC chief.


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