The news from Uttar Pradesh keeps getting worse for the Congress. So poor has been the response to the Youth Congress membership drive in the central zone here that it had to be extended indefinitely. Exemption of even the Rs 15 fee for some cases has tempted few while old members are refusing to stay on.
Sources said Rahul Gandhi,who had focused his energy on Uttar Pradesh,will hold a meeting on August 28 to review the youth wing system that was designed by him to revitalise the organisational set-up. Up for review,senior party leaders said,was an experiment to divide the parent party in the state into four divisions like the flailing Youth Congress.
In certain areas,including Lucknow,very few completed membership forms have come back. We are not being able to even renew the previous membership for which only identity proof is required. We will not be surprised if the numbers fail to touch 50,000 as against 3.25 lakh new memberships in 2011, said a party leader.
Planned for July 16 to August 13 initially,the deadline for the membership drive was first extended until August 17. With numbers still low,the drive has now been left open indefinitely. In order to facilitate the membership of those who had applied last time,the party had extempted the fees of Rs 15.
Admitting that membership was still open,Sukhwant Brar,zonal returning officer,said: The last date will be decided soon by senior leaders. Refusing to give reasons for the poor response,he said only senior leaders were authorised to speak.
What most Youth Congress leaders agree on is that there are lacunae which need to be addressed. We had worked hard last time,invested our own money but got nothing in return. Let others do it this time, said a Youth Congress leader who was denied an Assembly ticket.