A major overhaul could be on the cards in Congress which is going through internal problems. At a meeting of top party leaders at the AICC headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday, which was presided over by party's interim president Sonia Gandhi, leaders pressed for the need to amend the Constitution of the Congress. The meeting was called yesterday by Sonia to evolve a strategy for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and four others.
Leaders attending the marathon meeting, which spanned over three and a half hours, were on the same page for amending the party's Constitution. The present Constitution of the party was written in the 1920s and some of its clauses look impractical in today's world. Leaders from some Northeast states raised the issue in the meeting. Senior leaders also said that there was a need to amend the Constitution.
As per sources, there was consensus that the party needs to amend the Constitution. The party decided to constitute a committee that will look into the issues raised by the leaders and amend some of the clauses of the Constitution.
The Constitution of the Congress asks its members not to drink alcohol and wear khadi. Leaders said that this might have sounded absolutely logical in the 1920s, but India has changed a lot since then.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that it was made mandatory to wear khadi because the objective was to promote locally made products. Sending a message of unity for party workers and leaders, Rahul said true Congress leaders are not each other's weakness but their strength.
The last amendment to Congress' Constitution was made in 2010 when the tenure of the president of the party was increased from three years to five years. A committee that had stalwarts like Pranab Mukherjee, Janardhan Dwivedi , Ahmad Patel and Digvijay Singh was formed then to review the Constitution. It had then recommended some amendments which were ratified in the AICC session that was held in Burari in 2010.
Congress' Constitution empowers the CWC and the president of the party to make any amendment to the constitution; however any amendment needs to be passed in CWC first and then needs to be ratified in an AICC session. Congress sources suggest that the discussion to amend some clauses was held during former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as well. However, the party then felt that it would create 'unnecessary controversy' hence these amendments were never made.
Chairing the meeting, Sonia Gandhi emphasised the need for discipline and unity for both collective and individual success and said the party's messages on key issues facing the nation were not percolating down to grassroot cadre.