Rajasthan Cong leaders say YC polls will stoke factionalism, hurt prospects in assembly elections
Many Congress leaders in Rajasthan want the party’s youth wing polls to be either cancelled or postponed, saying the exercise could bring factionalism to the fore and harm the party’s prospects in the assembly elections due by the year-endjaipur Updated: Apr 10, 2018 22:29 IST
Many Congress leaders in Rajasthan want the party’s youth wing polls to be either cancelled or postponed, saying the exercise could bring factionalism to the fore and harm the party’s prospects in the assembly elections due by the year-end.
The Youth Congress has just finished its membership drive, enrolling 5 lakh active and 20 lah primary members, said Jagdeep Sandhu, the pradesh returning officer. Scrutiny and nominations will take place in the first week of May and elections are slated for May-end or June.
“It will be better if the Youth Congress polls are postponed,” a former Congress MP said on the condition of anonymity. “At a time when the Congress has a good chance to defeat the BJP in the assembly elections in Rajasthan, the Youth Congress polls would lead to internal strife and groupism.”
Leaders feel that Youth Congress members would not work in a united manner for the assembly elections. Groupism was witnessed at a meeting in Barmer last year attended by Youth Congress Rajasthan president Ashok Chandna and IYC national president Amarinder Singh Raja. Jats boycotted the meeting because Barmer district president Thakraram Mali had defeated their candidate.
Chandna shares the leaders’ concern, saying it is the Youth Congress members who draw out voters during elections.
“Those who contest the Youth Congress polls against each other tend to be divided in their groups. Those who lose will be demoralised and might not be motivated to bring out voters in support of party candidates,” Chandna said.
“So elections just five months prior to assembly polls could adversely affect the party at the hustings.” He said senior leaders from Rajasthan should try to convince the party high command to postpone the polls.
Manoj Gurjar, a Youth Congress worker from Barmer, said the candidates at the district and state level seek help from the local Congress leaders. “Those who are not helped by the leaders feel hurt and might end up boycotting that leader in the assembly elections.”
The YC elections were set in motion by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in 2009 with the intention of increasing membership of the youth wing and giving talented people from non-political backgrounds a chance to enter politics.
Youth Congress leaders who contested in the elections from Bharatpur, Rajsamand, and Jaipur said senior Congress leaders encourage their protégés and don’t let others, especially newcomers, rise.
The elections have encouraged those who are financially and politically influential, said Youth Congress members. Dynastic politics has been encouraged with kin of Congress leaders occupying most posts in several states, they alleged.
The YC president elections can cost between Rs 4-5 crore and at the district level the cost is between Rs 20-25 lakh. “The elections were not meant to be a money game but to encourage new talent; now lakhs are spent on the elections, edging out those who cannot afford to make heavy financial investments,” said a former YC president.
Several YC leaders are upset with Chandna who has been the president since 2013 when the last elections were held, though polls should be held every two years. Many members point out that despite there being elected members, Chandna made scores of nominated members.
Chandna said he did not nominate but gave promotions to those who worked. “My tenure has been almost five years. I gave promotions to the deserving to keep the team motivated and active,” he said.