Amethi MP and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi wants the Congress’s membership procedure made simple, transparent and practical.
Participating for the first time in the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body, on Wednesday, Rahul reportedly said the membership form is very long and the details asked for not necessary.
According to the party constitution, a member has to sign a declaration stating, among other things, that he or she is a habitual wearer of certified khadi, abstains from alcoholic drinks and intoxicant drugs, does not believe in or practice untouchability, undertakes to perform minimum tasks including manual labour as prescribed by the CWC, works for promoting the principles of secularism, socialism and democracy and subscribes to the party's journals.
Later, at a press conference, media department chairperson Veerappa Moily declined to specify what the young leader had said when he was asked whether Rahul wanted wearing of khadi made optional, "Rahul actively participated in the meeting. He made some suggestions which will be considered at the next appropriate time," Moily said.
To another query on whether Rahul could have spoken about doing away with details that cannot be verified, Moily said: “We will let you know later.”
Sources said that at the CWC meeting, chaired by Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, some members wondered whether the yardstick spelt out for membership was necessary. The counter argument, however, was that it has been part of the Congress tradition and should continue.
The issue came up when the CWC approved changes proposed in the party constitution to do away with two categories of membership — active and primary. The changes are part of the recommendations made by the Pranab Mukherjee-led committee set up by Sonia at the AICC plenary in Hyderabad in January 2006.
The CWC also decided to bring four resolutions at the AICC meeting. Besides an omnibus political, economic and international resolution, the other resolutions would deal with the centenary of Satyagraha, 150 years of the War of Independence and 60 years of Independence.