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Congress meet today to find ways out of fund crunch

Congress’ state-level treasurers have been called for the meeting to be chaired by general secretary in-charge of organisation and training Ashok Gehlot. The meeting follows senior leader Ahmed Patel’s appointment as the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) treasurer on August 21.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2018 23:40 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,fund,Ashok Gehlot
The Congress is grappling with its worst financial crisis following the drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. (AP)

The Congress has called a meeting of all its state presidents on September 6 to discuss ways to mobilise resources for the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Party’s state-level treasurers have been called for the meeting to be chaired by general secretary in-charge of organisation and training Ashok Gehlot. The meeting follows senior leader Ahmed Patel’s appointment as the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) treasurer on August 21.

The Congress is grappling with its worst financial crisis following the drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The severe funds crunch, blamed primarily on corporate houses moving away from the party, has also been cited as one of the major reasons for its series of electoral debacles in states. The fund flow had also got curtailed due to the loss of big donor states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Lack of funds had forced the Congress to withdraw some of its candidates in Nagaland in this year’s assembly elections.

The 133-year-old party has since 2014 adopted different measures, including mobilising resources directly from its members, to boost its kitty. In April this year, it asked all its Members of Parliament and legislators Legislative Assemblies to donate a month’s salary.

This followed with an appeal to the citizens on Twitter on May 24, urging them to make small contributions “to restore democracy”. “The Congress needs your support and help. Help us restore the democracy which India has proudly embraced since 70 years by making a small contribution,” read the party’s tweet.

Prior to these initiatives, the party had made it mandatory for each member to contribute Rs 250 yearly to the party fund. In 2015, the then AICC treasurer Motilal Vora had asked all the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs that the collected funds would have to be distributed in the ratio of 75:25.

While 75% of the funds received go to the AICC, the state units keep the remaining 25%. Political observers said the Congress is lagging behind in resources mobilisation and that is going to affect its election preparedness.

“It is a genuine concern (with)in the Congress. Elections have become an expensive affair. The election expenditure requirement now is much more than ever before. It has increased substantially. In that scenario, the Congress is nowhere near,” said N Bhaskara Rao, a Delhi-based political analyst and founder chairman of Centre for Media Studies, a not-for-profit, multi-disciplinary research and development organisation.

First Published: Sep 05, 2018 23:40 IST