Mallikarjun Kharge wants to follow in the footsteps of PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri. Mallikarjun is now seeking election to the Congress Working Committee after nearly two-and-a-half decades of winning the Congress president’s election from outside the Gandhi family. Even during his tenure, he does not want to send any message that ‘trustworthy’, ‘loyal’ and ‘submissive’ leaders are moving the party.
During the tenure of Sonia Gandhi as the Congress President from 1998 and during Rahul Gandhi’s tenure, there were no elections to the Congress Working Committee. It is the Congress president who nominates the members of the party’s executive committee. But in the last phase of Sonia’s term, the angry leaders of the party raised the demand that elections should be held at all levels of the organization, including the executive committee. Sonia accepted that demand and decided that the election would be held for the post of president. Rahul also wanted the same.
This time, Mallikarjun wants the Congress to be elected in the executive committee. Indeed, after two and a half decades of 1997, this will be the first election to a functioning association.
Plenary session of Congress
Plenary session of Congress will be held in Raipur, Chhattisgarh from 24th to 26th February. So far the position of the Congress leaders was that if the representatives of the All India Congress Committee or AICC wanted, the elections would be held in the Working Committee. According to Congress sources, the party president himself is seeking the election. Accordingly, the party’s election authorities have asked the leaders in charge of organizational elections in the states to submit the list of delegates to the ICC by January 15. According to party sources, several senior Congress leaders have already started preparing to contest the elections to get seats in the executive committee.
According to the Congress party constitution, the working committee will consist of 23 members apart from the president, the leader of the parliamentary party. Out of these 23 people, 11 will be nominated by the party president. The remaining 12 posts will be elected. The ICC delegates will vote for that. This election has been held only twice in the recent past. Tirupati session in 1992 when Narasimha Rao was president and Calcutta session in 1997 after Sitaram Kesri became president. Both times chaired by leaders outside the Gandhi family. Ever since Sonia became the president in 1998, her nominees have been appointed to all the positions of the executive committee.
Many in the Congress are happy to hear that after two and a half decades, the election will be held again in a functional association. According to them, this will convey the message of internal democracy in the Congress. Again, many people fear, if this vote does not send the message that if there is someone outside the Gandhi family as the president, the election is held in the working committee of the Congress, there is democracy in the party?