Ahmed Patel appointed Congress Treasurer (Lead)

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New Delhi : Ahmed Patel, a long-time political aide of Sonia Gandhi, was on Tuesday appointed as Congress Treasurer and Anand Sharma as Chairperson of its Foreign Affairs Department.

Patel, who was Political Secretary to Sonia Gandhi for 16 years when she was the Congress President, replaces Motilal Vora who was the Treasurer for almost 17 years.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was made a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee while former Goa Congress chief Luizinho Falerio was appointed General Secretary incharge of the party affairs in the northeast states.

A former Union Minister, Sharma replaces party veteran Karan Singh.

The new appointments were made by Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

A three-time Lok Sabha MP from Gujarat, Patel is now into his fifth term in the Rajya Sabha. He has been a party General Secretary from October 1996 to July 2000.

Patel, among other things, had worked for effective coordination between the party and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government from 2004 to 2014.

Faleiro replaces C.P. Joshi, who has now been divested of all the states he was made incharge of, including Assam and Bihar.

The party had lost elections in Assam and several northeastern states when Joshi was party incharge. He belongs to Rajasthan which goes to the Assembly polls in 2018.

Falerio has his task cut out as Mizoram will go to Assembly polls this year. The Congress also faces the challenge of containing the BJP in the region in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.