Congress to hold polls in two phases

Congress to hold polls in two phases

The Congress on Monday announced a new schedule for organisational elections amid reports that vice-president Rahul Gandhi had further extended his “leave of absence” by a fortnight.

The long-stretched process of organisational elections will kick off in June and for the first time would be held in two phases. Another first in recent years would be the elections to the Congress Working Committee. The last elections to the party’s top decision-making body were held in 1997 when Sitaram Kesri was the Congress president.

The first phase of elections, covering 18 states and Union Territories, would be completed by July 31. Party members in Karnataka and 17 other states and UTs will elect their leaders in the second phase that will culminate in the election of PCC chiefs, vice presidents, Treasurer, and PCC executives and AICC members on Septemer 30.

The organisational poll process is expected to be complete with the election of the Congress Working Committee at the AICC Plenary some time in October or November.

As per the Congress constitution, 12 of the 25-member CWC have to be elected by the AICC, while others are appointed by party chief. The Congress has not seen an elected CWC since Sonia became the President in 1998.

Arguing in favour of a nominated CWC, Congress leaders contend that the party president needs to have a free hand in selecting her team which would help her implement the programmes.

Organisational elections are being held when the talk is growing in the party that sooner rather than later Sonia Gandhi will pass the mantle to her son Rahul Gandhi, who was made the Congress vice-president in January 2013 at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir.

Meanwhile, reports had it that Rahul, who has taken a sabbatical from politics, has reached out to party leaders. He is learnt to have conveyed to the party leaders that he had extended his leave by a fortnight.

Congress leaders refused to comment on Rahul’s whereabouts contending that he was entitled to privacy.

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