New Delhi,Iftikhar Gilani(dna): Demoralised after poor showing in the last Lok Sabha polls as well as in successive state assembly elections, Congress is introducing caste and communal quotas at different levels in the party structure. The aim is to revive the party's political fortunes.
Though, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who had been factoring the castes aggressively in the party by reserving at least 50 per cent of posts in the executives of the organisation at all levels, the party after a series of discussions has now decided to reserve 20% of posts for scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs), other backward classes (OBCs) and religious minorities. Moreover, 30% seats in these committees will be reserved for women.
Rahul Gandhi's 50% reservation plan was watered down, after some party leaders approached Congress president Sonia Gandhi to point out that the party is already committed to give 33% posts to women and if 50% reservation is made for SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities, it would mean 83% reservation in all, leaving very little space for the rest.
Meanwhile, in the run up to drastic organisational changes, a document circulated amongst office-bearers also talks about giving powers to its party workers to choose candidates for the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections in the drastic changes proposed in the organisational structure to make the party better prepared for elections. Now, every parliamentary constituency will have a Lok Sabha Congress Committee that will select the party candidate and that too two years in advance. Similarly, there will be a Vidhan Sabha Congress Committee (VSCC) in each assembly constituency with similar powers to allow the local party workers choose the candidates for the assembly elections.
The proposed new structure also seeks to replace the current practice of having the district and block level committees with the Sector Congress Committees and the Polling Booth Congress Committees as the last unit in the chain. There will also be the booth-level agents for each 50 households. The booth-level committee members will participate actively in all social and religious functions. It will strive for communal harmony and social justice and monitor implementation of the government schemes and bring grievances to the notice of VSCC president.
The LSCC and VSCC presidents will be elected for five years by all the registered Congress members in the respective Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies and the person coming second will be declared as vice-president while all those getting more than 20 per cent votes will become the core committee members.
The candidates will also be not selected but elected by these registered Congress members and that too two years before the scheduled elections. Presidents of both LSCC and VSCC will be debarred from contesting the elections as it was felt that the poll management goes haywire when the district and block unit chiefs themselves enter the fray.
The proposed changes in the party constitution also envisage that the committees at all levels be it AICC, PCCs or the Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and sector-level committees will have 21-member working committees to be called "core committees" and unlike the current practice of the jumbo lists of the general secretaries, there will be six general secretaries at the all-India level, appointed by the party president, and just four general secretaries in the PCCS and other committees.
All those who get more than 20 per cent votes would automatically become the members of the Congress Working Committee. If the election is unanimous or no one gets more than 20 per cent vote, it will be then the party president's prerogative to nominate 21 members of the CWC.