Rahul wants 'elected' party office-bearers

Rahul wants 'elected' party office-bearers

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi plans to reintroduce election to top party posts, including those in the Congress Working Committee (CWC), as part of his initiative to shed the “high command” culture now prevalent in the organisation.

Congress sources said over-dependence on the high command in making appointments to key party posts was robbing the organisation of democratic values and Gandhi was keen on having it restored.

Selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections through the US-style primaries was also part of this democratisation. If Gandhi has his way, CWC members would also be elected by party leaders. The last election to the CWC was held in 1997. The 43-year-old Gandhi scion also wants election of chief ministers through a draw of ballots by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

According to the present practice, the Congress president nominates the CWC members and the chief ministers. In case of the chief ministers or CLP leaders, the MLAs usually send a one-line resolution authorising the Congress president to make the nomination.Gandhi and his team have identified 17 parliamentary constituencies where Congress workers would directly elect candidates for the elections.

Three constituencies from Maharashtra, two each from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and one constituency each from Assam and West Bengal have been identified for this exercise.

To dispel an impression that this exercise was carried out only in seats where the Congress lost the elections, it was decided to include the Chandni Chowk and Delhi north-west constituencies, represented by Union Minister Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath respectively, in the “primaries” exercise.

However, plans for Delhi had to be shelved after both Sibal and Tirath questioned the criteria for choosing their constituencies. 

“The primaries system will empower the party workers in candidate selection and people will rise up the organisational ladder. This will complete the full cycle of reforms in the government and political system and cleanse it,” AICC general secretary Ajay Maken said.

Maken has offered his constituency for inclusion in the “primaries” exercise.

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