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AAP at its heel, Haryana Congress starts setting house in order

The party recently concluded a membership drive and has drawn up a schedule for organisational polls

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: April 21, 2022 7:40:37 am
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders from Haryana in a group phootgraph, during a meeting in New Delhi (PTI, file)

At a time it is weakened by infighting and is facing a challenge from an expanding Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Congress in Haryana has conducted a membership drive to bolster its rank and file and plans to conclude organisational polls by September-end. The membership drive, which ended on April 15, was conducted after more than four-and-a-half years.

The central leader in charge of Haryana, Vivek Bansal, told The Indian Express that approximately 14 lakh members were inducted during the exercise. “The figures compiled revealed at least seven lakh digital members and the number will be approximately the same in terms of hard-copy memberships. It is after more than four-and-a-half years that we have done this exercise and the response has been good,” he added.

The party has drawn up a schedule for its organisational elections. The first phase — in which primary and block presidents and executive committees are to be chosen, and block committees will elect members of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) — is likely to be completed by May 31.

Between July 21 and August 20, the party’s district committees will elect their presidents, vice presidents, treasurers, and executive committees. In the third phase, from August 21 to September 20, the state Congress president, vice president, treasurer, PCC executives, and the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) members will be chosen.

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The dates for the final phase — in which ACC members will elect the members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and other bodies — will be announced in September or October during the plenary session.

The Congress’s attempts to put its house in order come at a time the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is planning to carry the momentum of its Punjab election victory and establish a foothold in Haryana. The party has already opened its offices in all 22 districts of the state and according to Sushil Gupta, the leader in charge of the party in Haryana, it is close to completing the process of opening offices in all 90 constituencies.

Several leaders across party lines have started joining the AAP. Earlier this month, former state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, former Revenue Minister Nirmal Singh, and Singh’s daughter Chitra Sarwara joined the party. Nirmal was a loyalist of former chief minister and current Congress Legislature Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

“There is a minuscule number of people in the Congress, the BJP and other parties who, after feeling left out, are looking for other avenues. Such people are joining AAP,” said Bansal. “Particularly, this hype has been created by AAP after their victory in Punjab. But, it is nothing more than euphoria. The ground reality is completely different. With this ongoing exercise of expanding the party’s base, we are expanding the party’s cadre at the ground level.”

Asked about the factional feuds in the party, the Congress leader added, “Yes, it is certainly an issue. But the party high command is seized of the matter and shall soon take a call. I am expecting that a decision may be taken, anytime, soon.”

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