Sonia Gandhi is all set to create a record in the Congress party's history for being its longest- serving chief. Her re- election as the Congress president — which might be preponed to July — is just a formality, reports Mail Today.
That would make Sonia the first Congress chief to have a continuous run of 15 years, thereby breaking the party record in general and the Gandhi family's record in particular. Sonia was elected party president on December 9, 1998, at the party's Kolkata conference.
After being re- elected this year for another three- year term, she would have an uninterrupted 15 years at the helm. According to the election calendar drawn up by the AICC, the poll process was scheduled to be over by July 26 with Sonia's re- election.
But as a result of the tardy progress, the organisational elections are now likely to be completed by December after the Bihar polls.
Party sources said Sonia's re- election need not wait till December and any 10 Pradesh Congress Committee ( PCC) delegates can propose her name and she could be elected by consensus by July 25. Party sources said AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's desire to bring in transparency in the organisational elections had resulted in delay in completing the polls by July 31. Rahul is trying to bring internal democracy in the Indian National Youth Congress and the National Students' Union of India by holding the organisational elections. But the bid to democratise the party has not fructified as the ongoing polls are marred by complaints of bogus voters in some states and low enrolment in others.
For the first time, at Rahul's instance, photo identity was made a must for enrolment of members. Initially, the move met with resistance and many local partymen said photographers were not available in villages and some Muslim women may shy away from being clicked.
Many leaders also enrolled several bogus members to impress the high command. The mandatory photo ID resulted in a dip in the enrolment. The party is not unduly worried about this as the available members are genuine. There was also a debate on whether the elections should be held up to the PCC level. Some leaders supported the move, while others suggested elections should be limited to district Congress committees. Last year, Rahul had dusted a report submitted by the inhouse Future Challenges Group that proposed radical reforms in the party to make it vibrant and in tune with the changing times.
He mulled whether the suggestions could be implemented. Among the proposals were ending ‘ nomination culture', enforcing strict recruitment criteria and ensuring transparency in organisational elections. Other suggestions were elections to grassroot block, turning the Congress from a mass- based party to a cadre- based party and a mandatory photo ID for enrolling new members.