Bihar may well be growing at 11.03 per cent, but a “high entry fee” is keeping youngsters away from Rahul Gandhi’s Youth Congress.
It’s Rs 15 and they want Gandhi to bring it down to Rs 3, which is the fee for joining the parent party Congress.
The Congress’ Gen-Next aspirants have made several representations to the Youth Congress that is conducting a month-long membership drive in Bihar from January 12.
“We had requested the Youth Congress leaders to reduce the membership fee as Bihar is one of the poor states in the country. Its per capita income is very less as compared to other states,” said an aspirant who didn’t want to be named.
The state also has a very high unemployment rate, he said.
While the general membership fee is Rs 15, women and those belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories have to pay Rs 5 only. An additional surcharge of Rs 5 is levied during the last three days of the membership drive.
This membership is valid for one year and could be renewed by paying the subscription fee besides the member has to be still below 35 years of age and should have maintained good standing in the party.
However, the nomination fee for contesting the elections at any level — panchayat, assembly or state — is Rs 1000.
Why is the nomination fee so high? “The Youth Congress Election Commission is mandated to function in a cash neutral manner. The membership and election process in every state is funded solely by membership and nomination fee collection and hence the rates have been fixed as they are,” says the youth wing website.
Starting with Punjab in December 2008, the Youth Congress would be conducting internal elections in all 35 states by December 2010.
“These are truly exciting times for the Youth Congress,” the website says.