The Congress on Monday launched a membership drive ahead of the organisational elections but it was primarily limited to the launch of the online campaign ‘Save India, Join Congress’ targeting Modi government’s policy.
The party, meanwhile, is yet to take a final call on the actual mode of membership drive.
It has been wary of the new digital system in the wake of botched experiment with ‘Shakti App’ in Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The AICC in charges of respective states attended the launch at the party headquarters which mainly turned out to be a photo opportunity.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who otherwise were active on social media platforms, did not even issue any appeal through their social media handles.
“Today’s event mainly focused on campaigning and going public about the launch of the membership drive but the party is yet to decide if the entire drive will be manual or digital. The state units as of now are issuing manual registration slips to new members,” said a senior Congress leader.
The party is working on a foolproof digital membership drive starting November 1 to March 31, 2022, before the organisational elections.
But a word of caution came from Priyanka who had flagged bogus membership issues during the meetings of general secretaries, state in charges and leaders chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss the membership drive among other issues.
It urged people to join the party to save the country from forces trying to destroy constitutional values.
The Congress has accused the BJP of spreading hatred and dividing society, and has said that it will fight back with Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of non-violence, truth and unity.
The membership drive, which started on Monday, will continue till March 31 next year.
Those wishing to take up the primary membership of the Congress will have to make a declaration of abstention from alcohol and drugs.
They will give an undertaking to never criticise the party’s policies and programmes in public forums.
New members will also have to give a declaration that they will not own any property in excess of ceiling laws and will undertake tasks, including “manual labour”, prescribed by the Congress.
People can become a member of the Congress by paying a fee of Rs 5.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the youth to join the party and said its ideology is dedicated to uphold the country’s Constitution and its democratic values.
Gehlot said the Congress is the oldest party in the country with a proud history and its leaders have sacrificed their lives before and after independence to keep it united.
He said the Congress aims at ensuring unity, social harmony and equality and urged people to join hands with it to end the current era where “fascist forces” are bent upon destroying constitutional values.
The Congress will also focus on training its cadre to counter the BJP’s “false propaganda” and will work out modalities for the upcoming training programmes.
The party’s membership drive will be followed by organisational elections, which includes election of state unit presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, executives and AICC members by the Pradesh Congress Committee general body which will be held between July 21-August 20 next year.
The election for the new Congress president would be held between August 21 and September 20 next year.
The election of Congress Working Committee members and other bodies by AICC members will take place at a plenary session, dates for which will be announced before October 2022.
The Congress will also undertake a mass agitational programme – ‘Jan Jagran Abhiyan’, across the country over rising prices from November 14 to 29.