Ahead of party polls, Congress gets into a digital drive for membership

The Congress party’s massive membership outreach programme, which aims to build a digital database of more than five crore registered members by 2021, has been planned as a run-up to its organisational elections.

Elections to every post of the party till the district level will be held in December 2021, those involved in the process have said.

For the membership drive, an application is being designed which will act as a database as well as act as a mode of communication for the different tiers of leaderships across the district, state and national levels.

The drive will be initiated in November-December this year after the assembly polls in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand are concluded.

The app will be piloted in Goa, Chhattisgarh and parts of Uttar Pradesh to cover “remote, diverse and tribal areas”, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said in a circular issued on October 8.

A senior leader, who is also a functionary involved in the process, said that the party’s calculation to have five crore members has been arrived at by an aim of having at least 30 members in every booth.

“There are over 10 lakh booths across the country, which hold around 1000 votes approximately. The aim is to enrol 50 members in every booth,” said the party functionary.

The modalities of the enrolment are likely to be issued soon.

In addition to that, each member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), former MLA, member of Legislative Council (MLC) and former MLC will be asked to enrol 100-200 members for each assembly constituency.

There are more than 4000 assembly constituencies across the Legislative Assemblies in 29 states and the Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

The October 8 circular has asked state units to designate a general secretary in each state for the purpose.

Five sets of information—name, voter ID, photo, email address and mobile number—will be fed into a national database, which will be accessible to all state units.

The voter ID holds additional information on the person’s age, sex and address. The database will have categories identifying people belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and general castes.

The Congress’ organisational elections are held first for block presidents, where party workers vote for them. Block presidents then vote for district presidents, who vote for a state president. As per the planned overhaul, those who become party members by December 2021 will be eligible to vote.

The party will also appoint members for the Central Election Authority (CEA), which conducts elections to organisations posts, as well as Pradesh Returning Officers for the elections.

The tenure of the Congress’ present CEA has officially ended after the election of the current party president, Sonia Gandhi. She has taken on the role on an interim basis after Rahul Gandhi had resigned from the party’s top post.

Hussain Dalwai, Mullapally Ramachandran, Madhusudan Mistry, MA Khan, Rajni Patil, Thokchom Meinya, Narender Budania, KH Muniyappa, Tamradhwaj Sahu are part of the current CEA.

The party has more than three crore members currently, but a database or a reckoner of all the members is not available. The membership of the party has been calculated based on the amount of money turned in by the state units as membership dues.

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