With Congress reeling under a series of poll reverses, Rahul Gandhi today met senior party leaders here to discuss how to check the slide and set a number of goals like speedy membership by providing “incentives” to expand the party’s base.
At the brain-storming meeting of the Election Authority of the party, Gandhi is learnt to have expressed his concern over the tardy pace of organizational polls and asked young AICC secretaries to take responsibility to ensure that it gets the needed momentum in states.
Re-introducing active membership concept, common membership across all the wings of Congress and enhanching the representation ratio of SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities in Committees are some of the measures that were debated threadbare during the meeting in which Gandhi was present for one and half hour.
Thrust was laid on opening up the membership enrolment by introducing multiple channels like web-based application and smart phone application as well as providing “incentives” for a member who enrolls at least 25 members.
From the meeting, coming a day before Delhi goes to vote, it emerged that the Congress Vice President was focussing on long-term strategies.
Party General Secretary in-charge Organization Janardan Dwivedi could not attend the meeting as he was down with viral fever while some other general secretaries also failed to turn up.
The membership drive, which was earlier set to have ended on December 31 of last year, was extended for two months is to wrap up this month-end with Gandhi not quite keen on further extending it.
The Central Election Authority headed by senior leader Mullapalli Rmachandran submitted some proposals and amendments to better the organizational functioning of the party, which was considered by the apex decision making body of the party, Congress Working Committee in a meeting on January 13.
The CWC decided to take inputs from the states on the proposed changes and fine-tune the proposal and if necessary, place them before AICC session likely in March-April.
This time there will be open membership and the party plans to carry out rigorous scrutiny to ensure transparent selection.
There have been several complaints earlier regarding bogus membership and kin of senior politicians occupying key posts in the party by ‘managing’ elections.
In a statement, the party said that since it is seriously considering to introduce active membership concept, the Election Authority exhorted each Congress workers to enrol at least 25 members and maintain its record to access “incentives” to be announced by the party, for every one, who enrolls a minimum of 25 members.
“The Central Election Authority will soon be deploying the web based membership enrolment channel as well as smart phone based application for enrolling members,” it said.
One key proposal is enhancement of current minimum level of representation in the Congress Committess for SCs, STs, OBC and Minorities from 20 percent to 50 percent.
Gandhi also directed the AICC secretaries to tour the states extensively.
“Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi have been focussing their attention for ensuring genuine membership, fair and transparent election process in the Congress party. Their hope is that the on-going exerise should build strong bondage among all the workers and strengthen the party,” Ramachandran said.
AICC general secretary Ambika Soni said after the meeting that the Congress Vice President asked party leaders to carry out the membership campaign aggressively so that no body can say that when it has lost power, people are not joining it.
Gandhi desired that every member’s voice should be heard in the party.
Besides the AICC secretaries, the different department and cells of the party looking after various sections of the society will also be activated to enrol these. The secretaries have been asked to explain how representation to everyone’s voice will be enrolled.
Organisational weakness has been cited as one of the major reasons for the chain of electoral reverses suffered by Congress starting from the 2010 Assembly elections in
Bihar and followed by Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh in 2012.
It was also one of the factors responsible for the abysmal showing by the party in last year’s Lok Sabha polls, apart from price rise and perception of corruption under its UPA government.
The party’s tally plummeted to 44 from 206 in the previ ous Lok Sabha.
The Congress Vice President is keen that the party polls are ‘free, fair and transparent’ and has been pressing for long for a larger say for grassroots workers in the election of Congress’s office bearers.
He has said that he wanted the party polls to be utilised to “reinvigorate and rejuvenate” Congress in the changed political scenario.
There is a view in the party that since the next general elections will be held five years from now, it is time for the party to focus on its organisation in the states.