Aspiring for a position or a ticket in the Rahul Gandhi-era of the Congress? Before you get those khadi kurtas stitched, get ready for interviews and double-check that bio-data for inaccuracies or exaggerations.
Knowing a leader or having a powerful aunt or uncle in the upper echelons of the party is still useful if you are seeking entry, but the neo-Congress is slightly more picky and has some checks in place.
Last week, the central election committee, the highest body of the AICC, which selects candidates for state and national elections, put on hold the tickets of two Delhi ministers — Ramakant Goswami and Kiran Walia — for the upcoming Delhi assembly polls.
Congress insiders said that the internal reports on their respective constituencies were not favourable.
“We have identified that candidate selection is a key issue. Earlier, on many occasions, we lost the poll because the right candidate was denied a ticket,” Union minister and key poll strategist Jairam Ramesh told HT.
When Gandhi first assumed charge as general secretary, he started power-point presentations and bullet-point reading materials. And now with these measures, insiders believe the corporatisation of the Congress has reached the next level.
“Any candidature has to be backed by solid claims and leaders recommending any particular candidate are later held accountable for the performance of their protégée. Recently, written undertakings were taken from some top leaders in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi that they will not support rebel Congress candidates,” said a source who works with Gandhi, now Congress vice-president.
While the younger members of the party are more receptive to this change, many others feel that if the Congress loses in the 2014 polls, this corporatisation may once again take the backseat.