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Senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kamal Nath were appointed AICC general secretaries and handed charge of the party affairs in key election-bound states of UP and Punjab, respectively.
The announcement on Sunday also signals the beginning of the process of reorganisation of the party after successive electoral losses, starting with its humiliating defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Azad replaces AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls early next year.  Mistry, who is credited with putting in place the party’s organisational structure in Uttar Pradesh, was having problems with Prashant Kishor, the poll strategist hired by the Congress to craft its campaign in the state.
“There was a tussle between Mistry and Kishor over controlling the organisation in Uttar Pradesh,” a senior Congress leader said.
Kamal Nath has been handed over the charge of Punjab and Haryana in place of AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who has gone to Canada on two-month leave. While Shakeel has been dropped from the AICC, Mistry will continue as in-charge of the Central Election Committee of the AICC.
Azad, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, is known for his personal equations with senior leaders across the political spectrum – skills that came handy on special missions in the recent Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Azad had played a key role in finalising the pre-poll alliance with the DMK and more recently oversaw the Rajya Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh which Kapil Sibal won against a stiff challenge posed by BJP-backed Independent Preeti Mahapatra.
The changes also indicate that the much-talked about reshuffle of the Congress organisation could see a mix of senior and younger leaders in key party positions.
Azad and Kamal Nath's association with the Congress dates back to the times of late prime minister Indira Gandhi. The two leaders were also known to be close to Sanjay Gandhi and have served as AICC general secretaries on earlier occasions. While Azad was twice in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Kamal Nath had handled party affairs in Gujarat and West Bengal. 
Congress has been out of power in UP since 1989 and Azad's negotiation skills would come handy should BSP chief Mayawati decide to continue the tango with the Grand Old Party beyond the recent Rajya Sabha elections.

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