By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Jun 10 (IANS): With less than a year remaining for the Lok Sabha elections, and ahead of upcoming polls in various states, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar has overhauled the party, naming senior leader Praful Patel and his daughter Supriya Sule (Pawar) as the new Working Presidents.
He made the important declaration as the party enters the Silver Jubilee year, at a function held in Delhi, with the top brass in attendance.
The developments on Saturday came exactly 35 days after Pawar had vigorously stirred the NCP cauldron with his 'resignation drama' and then bowed before the party's wishes to remain as the party supremo on May 6.
Cracking the whip as he had promised last month, Pawar has effected a major reshuffle in the party's organisation at the top levels, starting with the General Secretaries (GS).
Patel, Rajya Sabha MP, shall be in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Goa and the upper house of parliament, besides being the Chairman of Economic Affairs.
Sule, Lok Sabha MP from Baramati, shall also be in-charge of Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana, women, youth, students and the lower house of parliament, besides being Chairperson of Central Election Authority.
P.P. Mohammed Faizal, MP and GS will look after Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala, the Overseas India and Foreign Affairs departments.
GS Sunil Tatkare, MP, will handle Odisha and West Bengal , plus national committee, sessions and conferences, Election Commission, Minority Department, Farmers Cell.
GS Dr. Yoganand Shastri is entrusted with organisations, Seva Dal and also President of Delhi NCP.
Another GS K.K. Sharma will look after Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, plus Panchayati Raj Department in the party.
GS Narendra Verma shall oversee the party work in all the seven northeastern states, media and IT departments.
GS Dr. Jitendra Awhad, MLA in Maharashtra is given the responsibility of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, plus Labour, SC/SC/OBC, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs departments in the party.
Permanent Secretary S.R. Kohli is entrusted with press, publicity, administration, assist Patel and Sule, and the treasurer in accounts and coordinate with the Election Commission.
Pawar has instructed all the national general secretaries to consult the new National Working Presidents for major policy decisions and keep him in the loop on various activities regularly.
To questions on why his nephew Ajit Pawar is not given any additional assignments, Pawar Sr. said that he (Ajit) is already have a crucial responsibility as the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
On his part, Ajit Pawar made it clear that "he is not sulking", and heartily congratulated all the new appointees, wishing them the best in their endeavours to build and fortify the party.
State NCP President Jayant Patil has congratulated all the new appointees including Patel and Sule, saying that the party will grow stronger and now all will get down to work ahead of the elections as the party enters its 25th year.
NCP National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto and Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase have hailed the appointments of Patel and Sule to the high posts and said they will prove beneficial to the party.
Tapase added how Sule has been particularly instrumental in bringing the youth and new voters to the party fold which will be a boost in the upcoming elections.
NCP sources don't rule out some more changes in the coming days at various levels and in different state units as the clock ticks away furiously towards the elections now.