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Team Rahul’s race against time

india Updated: Jul 22, 2009 00:31 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

It isn’t easy to create a democracy in a party that has been ruled by one family for 38 years, but Rahul Gandhi’s deadline to do just that expires in 18 months.

The Indian Youth Congress — seen as the key to the Congress’ future in a country where 54 per cent of 1.1 billion people are below 35 years — has completed internal elections in just two states in nine months.

December 2010 is the target and Team Rahul, a handpicked group of young Congress workers, has to finish elections in 26 more states. It won’t be easy.

“It’s a mammoth task, but we are ready to face the challenge,” said a senior Youth Congress functionary, requesting anonymity since he is not authorised to talk to the media. “The process got delayed because of the Lok Sabha elections.”

So, how will the Youth Congress pull this off?

The team hopes to divide India into five-six zones with a similar number of states in each zone, depending on the size of the states.

They are also evolving varying levels of democracy: In Punjab, Youth Congress elections will be at the block, district and state levels; in Gujarat, a new three-tier structure comprises assembly, parliamentary and state units.

A new addition will be panchayat units to strengthen the grassroots.

“It is Rahulji’s vision to bring about complete internal democracy in the Youth Congress and the party as well,” said the fuctionary.

The first test of panchayat-level election was held at tiny Puducherry on India’s east coast on July 12, with results declared the next day for its 236 panchayats.

Next destination: Tamil Nadu, a far greater challenge with 26,000 panchayats.

Who will conduct these elections? The team is still looking for looking for trained people. Watch this space.