It’s time to pay up. Failure to send in contributions towards the party fund will keep them out of elections, Congress members have been warned.
Some members of Parliament, assemblies and other elected representatives have not sent in their share, forcing the party leadership to issue the warning.
Last week, treasurer Motilal Vora wrote a stern letter to all members, through general secretaries in-charge of states and the state unit chiefs, that the requisite sum be deposited either with the central office or the Pradesh Congress Committee, or the state party panel, as the case may be.
At present, party members from Bihar are vulnerable as the state goes to the polls this year.
“Such a sword should always hang,” said All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Keshava Rao, who us in charge of West Bengal, where elections are due next year.
Vora’s letter, sent with party chief Sonia Gandhi's approval, is in line with the report of the Manmohan Singh committee on party finances that was adopted in 2002. Party MPs, legislators and salaried members of boards and autonomous bodies are required to donate a month’s salary for party fund, it says.
Every AICC delegate has to pay Rs 600 annually and a Pradesh Congress Committee member Rs 300. It is Rs 200 for a year for lower rung.
“As per the recommendations of the committee, it was decided that there must be transparency in party funding,” said Vora.
The panel was set up in keeping with Gandhi's call for transparency in funding and raising money in an organised manner from members.
The panel recommended that all payment provisions be strictly enforced. Default should automatically invite forfeiture of benefits of membership or office.
Ticket-seekers are required to deposit Rs 10,000 for the Lok Sabha, Rs 5,000 for Vidhan Sabha and Rs 1,000 for local body elections. There have been cases when states have waived application fee. The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe aspirants pay half the amount. Those who fail to get a nomination get 50 per cent of the deposit back.