Much like the Bharatiya Janata Party’s massive membership drive, the Congress too has launched the same to keep pace with the saffron party which has grown big in size and power.
The Congress in Jharkhand has been losing ground to the BJP since the landslide victory of the latter in 2014 general elections. The Congress had failed to bag even one of the 14 parliamentary seats in the state, while the BJP had won 12 and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bagged the remaining 2.
The Congress misery continued even in the assembly election in which Congress could not win more than six of the 81 seats.
Following the Modi-model, the Congress has introduced ''enroll new members, contest internal election'' scheme in a bid to gain in numbers in Jharkhand, party leaders said on Thursday.
Now, Congress leaders, including former MLAs and MPs, have to enroll new members in order to prove their eligibility for contesting the party’s internal elections for the posts of various office bearers, party sources in Jharkhand said.
Any leader, irrespective of his past achievements, has to enroll at least 25 new members to prove his eligibility. Besides, every contestant should enroll at least one member for each of the 24803 polling booths, said senior Congress leader Lal Shahdeo.
The party has inducted about four lakh new members since January and is targeting to enroll at least 10 lakh new members. The internal elections are slated in September, party sources said.
The Modi-fied BJP too had introduced the same scheme during its membership drive earlier this year.
Leaders in the party had to induct at least 100 new members through SMS service in order to prove eligibility for the internal elections. The party managed to induct 50 lakh new members during almost a year-long membership drive.
While the scheme comes as an opportunity for newbie politicians, it has forced seasoned leaders to work for membership, said internal sources in Congress. In fact, sources said that many senior leaders, who have served as ministers in the past, are unhappy with the scheme.
"The scheme has been introduced to revamp the party’s structure. We are looking forward to having young leaders willing to work hard for the party," said Shahdeo.
"They (Congress) had to review their policies and revive their organisational operations in order to survive. Old political tactics may not be of help in India anymore," says political researcher Pankaj Prasun.