Congress panel to discuss internal poll process

The newly constituted central election authority (CEA) of the Congress will meet on Wednesday to discuss the process to be adopted to conduct organisational elections in the next few months in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, people aware of the matter said.

The party has already asked all state units to send an updated list of All India Congress Committee (AICC) delegates who form the electoral college for the organisational polls.

The CEA has also asked the party’s data and technology department to help it in verifying the details of the AICC members, said a Congress functionary on the condition of anonymity.

The meeting on Wednesday at the party’s headquarters in Delhi will lay the groundwork for the elections to the president’s post and also the Congress Working Committee (CWC), he added.

While carrying out a major organisational reshuffle on September 11, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had formed the CEA for holding the internal polls. The five-member CEA is headed by Madhusudan Mistry and its members are Rajesh Mishra, Krishna Byre Gowda, S Jothimani and Arvinder Singh Lovely, one of the 23 signatories to a letter written to Sonia Gandhi last month seeking a complete overhaul of the party.

At a stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on August 24, both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had asked the party’s highest decision-making body to hold the organisational elections within a month but some members, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, maintained that it was not feasible because of the pandemic. Finally, an upper limit of six months was fixed for completing the internal elections.

Hyderabad-based political analyst C Narasimha Rao said organisational elections are good for internal democracy of any political party.

“In Congress, nomination had become an integral part for many decades now. Holding elections for any party post is good but the Congress should also try to strengthen the process of internal discussion on all important issues,” he said.

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