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In diversity drive, Congress calls for caste, religion data of district chiefs

A Congress leader said the idea behind the move is to give adequate representation to all sections of the society in the party.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2018 14:04 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Congerss caste data,Congress religion data
A Congress party worker waves the party flag during a function in New Delhi.(AP File photo)

The Congress has started seeking caste and religion particulars from its district presidents across the country in what one party functionary described as a move prompted by a desire to build an “inclusive team” ahead of the 2019 elections.

This person, who asked not to be identified, said the move is also in tune with the party’s constitution which provides for reservation for different communities.

According to the Congress’ constitution, 33% of the seats in different committees from district level onwards are to be reserved for women and the other 20% for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and minorities.

Organisational weaknesses have often been blamed for the Congress party’s electoral slide in states.

The party has been unable to stem the tide of reversals that began in 2013 with a string of defeats in state elections followed by a drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Apart from organisational weakness, the other key reason identified for the consecutive debacles is the party’s failure to connect with the masses.

The functionary said there is a growing realisation among the leadership that the party’s comeback at the national level largely depends on its revival in the states.

A second Congress leader said the idea behind the move is to give adequate representation to all sections of the society in the party.

“For example, in a state like Uttar Pradesh which has around party 130 units, across districts and cities, there will be as many district presidents, out of which 20% will be from the SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities.

“The upper castes too need to be given due representation. So this data will ensure that the appointments are in line with the party constitution,” he explained.

The move will also help the party churn local leaders, this person said.

Many district presidents have held their current posts for more than 10 years, he added.

“Out of 54 district presidents in Maharashtra, at least 20 have remained unchanged since the past 12-13 years. That needs to be streamlined and regulated,” he said.

Political analysts say it is important for any party leadership to have a clear and accurate picture of the people who are working in its team and also keep track of their performance.

“So, from that point of view having data of all your army of workers helps in planning sometimes choosing the right people and moving out the poor performers,” said Delhi-based political analyst Professor Balveer Arora.

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 14:04 IST