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Jane Taber

More OLO departures? Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff's operations director, Sachin Aggarwal, is seriously considering running in Toronto Centre to replace former provincial Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman, who is running to be Toronto mayor, according to sources.

Mr. Aggarawal, a Toronto lawyer, is part of Mr. Ignatieff's inner circle from the 2006 leadership campaign. Although his two roommates and senior OLO strategists, Mark Sakamoto and Alexis Levine, both stepped aside and returned to Toronto, he was expected to be one of the few original Ignatieff strategists to survive the changes at the Opposition Leader's Office.

In fact, new chief of staff Peter Donolo outlined the OLO re-organization this week and Mr. Aggarwal was prominently mentioned as director of operations. Mr. Donolo's email did not really say what he would do, and it did appear that his position was junior to that of OLO newcomer Patricia Sorbara. She is the chief operating officer and according to Mr. Donolo, she is a "logistics expert" and "will be responsible for the entire operation of the OLO."

Meanwhile, sources say that Mr. Aggarwal has some strong support provincially. Premier Dalton McGuinty's office, according to one source, is staying out of this. Federally, the riding is represented by Bob Rae, Mr. Ignatieff's chief rival in the leadership. So that could make for interesting federal/provincial relations if Mr. Aggarwal succeeds.

There was also speculation around war-room chief Warren Kinsella. He wrote on his blog today that he is taking a different direction for now, concentrating more on municipal endeavours. Since there is no war to be fought - an election isn't expected now at least until later in the new year - there is no reason for Mr. Kinsella to be spending so much time in Ottawa. He had been spending about three days of every week here.

"There's no war room until the election," Mr. Kinsella said in an email to The Globe.

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