Congress speeds up internal polls, asks state units to close membership by May 15
After exchanges of letters, the EC finally accepted the grand old party’s request seeking extension of deadline for completing its organisational polls by December 31.india Updated: Apr 17, 2017 07:10 IST
After a brief confrontation with the Election Commission over the extension of deadline for holding organisational polls, the Congress has now decided to speed up the process.
In a communication to all state units, the party has asked them to wind up the ongoing membership drive by May 15. “I would like to remind you that under no circumstances the date of enrolment and submission of membership forms will be extended beyond May 15,” Congress general secretary, Janardan Dwivedi, said in his April 13 letter to state chiefs and party office-bearers across the country.
“You must be aware that we have to complete our organisational elections by the end of this year,” he said.
After exchanges of letters, the EC finally accepted the grand old party’s request seeking extension of deadline for completing its organisational polls by December 31. The poll body has asked the Congress to submit its list of new office-bearers by the first week of January 2018.
Earlier, the EC had turned down a request by the Congress for a year’s extension and asked it to complete the formality by the end of June. But the main opposition party informed the poll panel that it will be able to complete the process only by December 31 this year.
As per rules, all registered political parties have to hold their internal elections annually.
The Congress had also questioned the poll body's jurisdiction in fixing a date for its organisational elections. It insisted that the deadline fixed by the EC goes against the resolution of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), its highest decision-making body, allowing Sonia Gandhi to continue to hold the post of the party chief till December 31, 2017.
However, Congress leaders said the extension does not necessarily mean that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi will have to wait till the end of the year to take over the reins of the organisation. Sonia, 70, holds the record of being the party chief for 18 consecutive years after taking over from Sitaram Kesri in 1998.