The Congress is set to elect its next president in July as it laid out an elaborate four-phase schedule for organisational elections to pep up the party from the grassroots following a string of poll losses.
Internal polls will be held for block, district and state committees before moving to the central level to elect All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, a party statement said on Thursday. The proposed CWC elections are significant because the party’s top panel has not seen serious contests for a while.
The party constitution says 12 members are to be elected to the CWC and as many nominated by the Congress president. In reality, contests are avoided and the party collectively authorises its chief Sonia Gandhi to appoint all CWC members. Gandhi, the longest serving chief of the 129-year-old party, hasn’t been challenged since Jitendra Prasada made a bid for the top post in 2000. “This year, an electoral battle for the top position is unlikely to happen,” a source said.
Sources said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s imprint was clearly visible on this year’s detailed election schedule as he has been pushing for internal polls to allow a more democratic set-up within the organisation.
Currently on a sabbatical to reflect on the party’s electoral reverses after a decade in power at the Centre, Gandhi’s previous experiments with polls in the student wing, NSUI, had shown mixed results.
A Congress statement said enrollment of members for the staggered elections would close on May 15, with polling beginning on July 10.The party president will be elected between July 26 and 31 while the AICC members will vote for the CWC during the plenary session.