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Jairam emerging as troubleshooter in Congress set-up

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Jairam Ramesh is emerging as a key troubleshooter in the Congress for reaching out to prospective allies and acting as a go-between among different factions within the party, sources said.

Ramesh, who has been rural development minister in the UPA government, is close to 10, Janpath as well as Rahul Gandhi whom he advises on policy matters. Congress leaders admit privately that Ramesh’s clout is growing but when asked Ramesh just laughed it off.

The Congress is battling multiple crises since the recent death of veteran party insider Ahmed Patel and the party is struggling hard to find his replacement as on several occasions Sonia Gandhi has had to step in to talk to leaders of other parties while for party matters Priyanka Gandhi has been active, but no official arrangements have been announced.

The Congress is mulling many names, from Kamal Nath who played a significant role in arranging a meeting of dissenting leaders of the party with Sonia Gandhi, to Ashok Gehlot who is also considered a 10, Janpath loyalist but both leaders are not willing to leave state politics at this juncture. Nath is state party chief in Madhya Pradesh and Ashok Gehlot is Rajasthan Chief Minister who fought off a revolt by his former deputy Sachin Pilot.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, also has vast experience but he was one of the 23 dissenting leaders who wrote a controversial letter to interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asking for sweeping reforms within the party.

Congress has declared presidential elections for May after polls in the states and it is unlikely that Sonia Gandhi will announce any major appointments in the party and all arrangements will be interim till a new party President is elected and chooses a new team.

The Congress is trying to take on the BJP by uniting all other parties who are opposed to BJP but is finding it hard to take everybody along.

On Thursday, it managed to get 16 parties to boycott the President’s address but AAP and Akali Dal who are opposing the farm laws, are not part of the joint statement. The BJD and TRS which opposed the farm laws in Parliament are also not with the joint opposition much like the BSP and JMM which is the Congress’ ruling ally in Jharkhand.

The JD-S which had an alliance with the Congress in Karnataka is also not a signatory to the joint statement.

The Congress needs a troubleshooter and a leader of the stature of Ahmed Patel who can reach out within the party and to outsiders simultaneously but the party is yet to find one.

–IANS

miz/kr

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