Did Mallikarjun Kharge snub KC Venugopal in Rahul Gandhi’s presence?

New Delhi: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has apparently snubbed the general secretary in-charge of the organisation KC Venugopal in the presence of Rahul Gandhi during a meeting with Haryana leaders.

It is said that in the meeting held at the party headquarters in Delhi on August 7, Kharge took strong exception to the non-submission of a revised list of members of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC).

He rebuffed Haryana Congress president Udai Bhan for giving preference in the proposed committee to only those owing their allegiance to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda while ignoring the ones considered close to other leaders such as Kumari Selja, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kiran Chaudhry.

Asked about the revised list by Kharge, Bhan looked at Venugopal to suggest that the general secretary (organisation) is fully aware of the development.

Bhan is understood to have taken Venugopal’s nod while forming the committee.

Kharge later told Venugopal that such a thing should never happen again, and the party must include all voices. Rahul Gandhi was patiently listening to all this.

The Congress president is keen on accommodating people belonging to different factions and accordingly seeks well-balanced lists from all state units.

Venugopal has become a thorn in Kharge’s flesh. It is said that the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) reshuffle and the reconstitution of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) have been delayed due to Venugopal only.

While Kharge is not keen on retaining him as the general secretary (organisation), Venugopal is using his closeness to Rahul Gandhi to stall his removal from the post.

However, political observers have noticed that Rahul Gandhi has of late shown the cold shoulder to Venugopal.

According to them, Rahul Gandhi for the first time held a press conference at the party headquarters at Delhi’s 24, Akbar Road on Friday (August 11) without Venugopal by his side.

Also, whenever Rahul Gandhi came to the party headquarters, he would be accompanied by Venugopal but on the last few occasions, the general secretary (organisation) was conspicuous by his absence.

Even during Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency after the restoration of his membership, Venugopal is not seen in proximity with the former Congress chief.

Does all this indicate that Venugopal is out of favour now? Only time will tell.

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