Cong Sticks to Resolution, Rebuffs EC’s June Deadline to Elect Prez
Will follow CWC’s Nov plan to give one-year extension to Sonia-led team
New Delhi: Congress party has rebuffed the Election Commission’s June deadline to elect a new president, saying it was in conflict with the Congress Working Committee resolution and that its workers are caught up with campaigning for the current round of assembly elections.
In a response dated February 3, accessed by the ET, Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi reaffirmed the CWC decision for a year’s extension to the current leadership headed by Sonia Gandhi.
The EC is meant to ensure that political parties abide by their own constitution. The Congress case is that the extension is well within the provisions of its constitution and the EC cannot start setting deadlines, he stated in the letter. “We are surprised tolearnthattheElectionCommission has imposed upon us a deadline of 30.06.2017 to complete our organisational elections,” it said.
Further, Dwivedi elaborated that the EC deadline was “in conflict” with a resolution of CWC, which is the party’s highest decision making body, implying that any contravention could then amount to violating the very party constitution the EC seeks to uphold.
“Secondly, our party workers are presently engaged in campaigning for the upcoming assembly elections and hence, it would not be viable at this point of time to divert our resources to complete the organisational elections,” he said in his response.
“It is requested that the election process be permitted as per the provision of the constitution of the Indian National Congress and as per the resolution passed by the Congress Working Committee,” the party has said.
The Congress last voted for key posts and members of committees in 2010. Sonia Gandhi has served as the party’s leader since 1998. In 2013, her son, Rahul Gandhi, was named vice president. CWC has been filled with nominated members rather than elected ones.
In 2015, while the party had announced to hold organisational polls they kept getting delayed. On December 16, 2016, the Congress decided on another extension and sent a letter to the EC explaining the reasons for the delay in conducting party elections. But the commission took a firm view this time. “Your party is directed to complete the organisational elections of the party (by June 30) and submit the complete list of office-bearers, members of committees… latest by July 15, 2017,” it told the party in a letter dated January 5, 2017. This virtually set a six-month deadline for the Congress to decide on its next president.
In its response, Congress said CWC has unanimously passed a resolution on November 7, 2016 to provide a one year extension to complete organisational elections.
“The extension was granted keeping in view the upcoming assembly elections in five states and to complete the implementation of certain constitutional amendments. The Election Commission was informed of the one year extension in a letter dated December 16, 2016,” it said.
The Congress last voted for key posts and members of committees in 2010