Cong. all set to launch fund collection drive

NEW DELHI, DEC. 22. The Congress is all set to launch a fortnight-long fund collection and membership drive from December 28, foundation day of the party.

A significant feature of the fund collection is the use of coupons for collecting money. This practice, in use in Kerala, will be adopted by other State units also. The party plans raising at least Rs. 1 lakh from each district. Plans are afoot to create a party management fund, with a corpus of Rs. 50 crores.

The collection drive is being conducted on the basis of the guidelines issued by the six-member special committee on party finances headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh. The committee was set up by the party president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, a follow-up to her speech at the 81st AICC plenary session in Bangalore in March this year. In her speech, Ms. Gandhi made it clear that she wanted the party to take the lead in bringing about basic changes in the way political parties collected funds.

According to the guidelines laid down by the Manmohan Singh committee, every active member shall contribute Rs. 100, while the PCC members and the AICC members have been asked to contribute Rs. 300 and Rs. 600 respectively. The party MPs and MLAs have to donate a month's salary, while those applying for the party ticket to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly should deposit Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 5,000.

All Congress chairpersons of board/autonomous bodies and similar institutions have also been asked to contribute a month's salary, while the members of the municipal corporations, municipal committees and zilla parishads will have to give Rs. 200 to the party.