Congress emphasizing on the “one family, one ticket” norm, but with one exception

13 May, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

The Congress appears to be on the verge of enforcing a 'one family, one ticket' policy, with the proposal gaining near-unanimous support in the run-up to the party's Nav Sankalp Shivir in Udaipur.

AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken, speaking to the media prior of the start of the brainstorming session today, said the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule seemed to have been agreed upon. He did, however, say that there would be an exception to the norm, and that a second or more members of a family might run for office provided they had worked for the party for at least five years.

“The suggestion has seen almost total consensus in the committee talks,” said Maken, who is a member of a pre-shivir committee set up by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to recommend organisational reforms to be reviewed and finalised at the Shivir.

Another member of the same family may run if he or she has worked for the party for at least five years.”

The exception puts to rest any debate about the rule’s impact on the Gandhi family, as well as whether it would apply to them or not.

The committee on organisational forms, one of six formed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi to advise a path forward for the party in the wake of its dramatic fall in recent years, has also proposed a fixed term of five years for party office-bearers, followed by a three-year cooling off period. The regulation will not apply to the position of Congress President, which will be filled through elections.

The need to recruit more youngsters into the organisation was also considered, with the committee considering a recommendation that at least 50% of the office-bearers be under the age of 50.

According to Maken, the panel has recommended that a Public Insight Group be formed to conduct frequent polls among the public. “External surveys have only been performed during election season.” We’ve proposed creating an internal organisation called the Public Insight Group, which will conduct surveys to gather feedback from the public and better understand their ambitions and concerns on a regular basis,” he said.

According to Maken, a group to evaluate the performance of office-bearers was discussed, and the majority of the panellists were in favour of it. He claims that this evaluation wing will provide a never-before system for evaluating the performance of office-bearers, allowing those who do well to be rewarded and those who do not perform well to be dismissed from their positions.

The group proposes a fundamental change in the organisational structure by adding an intermediate unit between the booth and the block. Maken stated that the party’s constitution allows for this. “The booth is the smallest unit. The block is the following level. Between these two levels, we propose the formation of Mandal committees. We explored the potential of a Mandal with 15-20 booths. A block can be made up of three to five Mandals.” he quoted.

“When the recommendations in the Udaipur Declaration are implemented, the organisation will notice significant changes.” These modifications are necessary since the organisation has not altered to keep up with the times. While new democratic mechanisms have developed, the Congress’ structure has stayed unaltered for the last 50-60 years, while our opponents have been quicker to use them,” Maken added.