With Election Commission breathing down its neck, Congress says internal polls will be over in six months

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while expressing his umbrage over the EC directive to his party, slipped in that the “internal polls will” indeed be over and done with “in six months time”.

Published: 07th February 2017 12:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2017 12:22 AM   |  A+A-

Congress president Sonia Gandhi | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the Election Commission virtually telling the Indian National Congress that it better complete the party’s organisational elections by June, the Grand Old Party was in a froth questioning the poll panel’s locus standi to give such a directive.

But the Congress spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while expressing his umbrage over the EC directive to his party, slipped in that the “internal polls will” indeed be over and done with “in six months time”. That is after he questioned the EC’s jurisdiction over such matters. 

The EC directive acquires significance as it comes at a cusp of a time when the Congress is expected to complete a long-awaited change of guard from Sonia Gandhi to her son and the party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi.

As an interim measure, Sonia, the longest-serving Congress president so far, was given an unanimous extension of one more year by the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making
body, not-so-long-ago. 

One of the reasons why an AICC session has not been called yet to formalise the handing of the baton from Sonia to Rahul is because the process of internal polls is still on, punctuated by the Assembly polls.

It has been rumoured though that the grassroots membership drive initiated for the process to come to a fruition has been unsatisfactory in some states and incomplete in others. In more real terms, an

AICC session to elect/endorse the president of the party, usually named by the CWC, can only be called once the organisational polls to elect the State level office-bearers are over. The AICC session is a meeting of the CWC, AICC and PCC members and office bearers.

Going on the offensive against the Election Commission, Singhvi, however, said — “for the (internal) election process to go ahead, we need to complete the list members and that takes time. How can the
EC dictate the date and time to a political party?”

Singhvi went on to assert that the Congress has had a history of holding internal polls, right up to the level of the party president’s poll. And that Rahul had even engaged a non-governmental body comprising former chief election commissioners like J M Lyngdoh and T S Krishnamurthy, to hold the party’s internal polls.

The party’s organisational secretary Janardan Dwivedi has already written to the EC expressing surprise that it has set a deadline for the Congress to hold the internal polls.

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