Setting the stage for a confrontation with the election commission, the Congress has informed the poll panel that it will hold organisational elections by December this year and not June.
The election commission after turning down the Congress’s request for a year’s extension to hold polls had asked the grand old party to complete the formality by the end of June.
Questioning the poll body's jurisdiction in fixing a date for its elections, the Congress said the deadline fixed by the panel goes against the resolution of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), its highest decision-making body, while reaffirming that it required a year to conduct its polls. "On a jurisdictional basis, we do not believe that the election commission can fix a date for any political party, not only us," said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
Singhvi said the party is “fully ready to have internal polls”, but needs time to update lists.
He said his party was probably the only political outfit to have intra-party elections on a massive scale down to the tehsil and district level. "It is not possible to keep those lists updated in the real sense with so many assembly and other elections under way. All we have asked for is deferment so that we can have meaningful elections," he said.
The Congress spokesperson also dismissed speculation that the party was avoiding polls to pick its office bearers including a new president, since it was yet to conclude the membership drive. "We had those elections despite much opposition from our own members and Rahul Gandhi led that movement for internal democracy,” he said.