The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision making body, will meet on Monday to take a call on the organisational elections, the deadline for which ends on December 31.
The tenure of Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also likely to be extended by another year. She already holds the record of being the Congress chief for 18 consecutive years after taking over from Sitaram Kesri in 1998.
According to the agenda circulated to CWC members, the meeting will discuss the political situation in the country and organisational matters. It is also expected to discuss the strategy for the winter session of Parliament that begins on November 16.
Congress sources ruled out holding internal polls at this moment in view of the upcoming assembly elections in five states where the top brass and other leaders will be busy campaigning. Apart from Uttar Pradesh, elections are scheduled to be held in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in February-March next year.
Congress leaders, however, insisted that extension of Sonia’s term till December 31 next year does not necessarily mean that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi will have to wait another year to take over the reins of the party.
A Congress functionary said the timing of the change of guard has to be decided by Sonia and Rahul. He further explained that the CWC resolution on Sonia’s extension is a technical requirement that will have no bearing on Rahul’s elevation.
But some leaders did refer to the party constitution to suggest that the change of guard could take place any time. The Congress constitution gives special power to the CWC to take any decision, including the appointment of party chief, with the condition that the move has to be ratified by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) within six months.
It was on March 14, 1998 that the CWC exercised this provision to appoint Sonia as the Congress president in place of Kesri. The AICC ratified the move on April 6, 1998. The CWC had also anointed Rahul as the party vice-president on January 19, 2013 at Jaipur, and the AICC endorsed the move next day.
The CWC had on September 8 last year extended the date of completion of the organisational elections by one year. With it, Sonia’s term as Congress president was also extended by a year.
The party had then informed the election commission of its decision. A political party is required to inform the poll body of the mode and periodicity of organisational elections at different levels.
The polls have been delayed as Rahul is keen on holding internal elections across all the rungs of the party.
On many occasions, he had expressed concern over the increasing trend in the party to boost numbers through fake membership.
In the past, there have been allegations that leaders manipulate figures by dubious methods to outsmart their rivals and influence the outcome as happened in Youth Congress elections.