National

Congress gears for elections to top party positions

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Election Authority (CEA) of the Congress party met on Tuesday to complete the formalities of holding organisational elections to the post including that of the party president and members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

While the election schedule is likely to be ready by the year end, the next All India Congress Committee (AICC) session is unlikely to be held before February.

The timing of the meeting is significant as it comes just two days after senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, part of the group of 23 (G-23) who had sought a revamp by writing to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, renewed his attack on the leadership and demanded elections at every level including the president and the CWC.

A senior member of the CEA said the voter list will be completed in another 20-25 days and elections would be conducted through secret ballot. Explaining the timeline, he said, “The CEA will need another 25 days to initiate and complete the election process once mandated by the CWC. Once the voter list is ready, we will send a note to the Congress president who will then take a call on the road ahead.”

The CEA is headed by Madhusudan Mistry and includes Karnataka’s Krishna Byre Gowda, Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu S. Jothimani, Delhi leader Arvinder Singh Lovely and Rajesh Kumar Mishra from Uttar Pradesh.

The CEA member said their panel is preparing digital identity cards similar to smart cards for all the AICC voters and has membership of 2017 as the base year. He indicated that the process of compiling and updating the voter list of over 1,500 AICC delegates is going on in a few States while a few others have completed it.

If the proposed elections witness a non-Gandhi contender to the post of party president, it will be repeat of November 2000 when Sonia Gandhi had defeated her challenger, Jitendra Prasada.

Since then, the party had not seen any real challenge to the leadership of the Gandhi family until the G-23 called for inner party reform and collective leadership in August. However, on August 24, the CWC had agreed to hold organisational elections within six months if the pandemic situation permits.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 2:01:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-gears-for-elections-to-top-party-positions/article33173057.ece

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