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Explanation: When the voter list is made public, the leadership of the Congress will go out of the hands of the Gandhi family, understand why the uproar

New Delhi: The election of the Congress president is to be held next month. The party stands at a turning point. Will the reins be in the hands of the Gandhi family or will a non-Gandhi president be elected after 25 years? If a non-Gandhi becomes president, will the ‘first family’ of the Congress become a puppet, that is, the ‘remote control model’ referred to by Ghulam Nabi Azad in his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi? If Rahul Gandhi agrees to become the president, then there is hardly any chance of elections, but if he does not agree and the family wants to put someone in the chair, then voting is certain. A group of disgruntled leaders do not want a ‘puppet president’ to be made and that is why there is a strong demand to make public the list of delegates who cast their votes in the elections. In this episode of NBT Online’s special series on the election of the Congress president, we understand why there is an uproar in Congress over the electoral role.

Controversy over voter list
The demand to make the voter list public, raised by Anand Sharma in the Congress Working Committee meeting, seems to be gaining momentum. Sharma first raised this issue in the CWC meeting held to decide the election programme. Then Congress central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry quickly rejected the demand saying that the list of state Congress members was available at the state headquarters. can be seen from there. Later, Manish Tiwari, Shashi Tharoor, Karti Chidambaram and Pradyot Bordoloi have demanded publication of the list of over 9000 PCC delegates on the party’s website. All four are Lok Sabha members. There is also talk of Shashi Tharoor contesting the elections.

Congress President will be elected on October 17. So the nomination process will start from September 24. A faction of the party wants the electoral roll to be made public before nominations begin. If someone wants to contest for the Congress President, he must have the support of 10 delegates of the Pradesh Congress, only then he can file the nomination. To understand the argument behind the demand to publish the voter list, it is important to know how the Congress President is elected. Who are the voters?

How is the voting Congress President elected?
According to the Congress constitution, the delegates of the party vote in the election of the President. All members of the State Working Committees (PCCs) are delegates. At present, PCC has more than 9 thousand delegates across the country. If more than one candidate is in the field, these delegates cast their votes. Voting will be held at PCC headquarters. The special thing is that in order to contest the presidential election, it is mandatory for any person to be a delegate first. Apart from this, he needs the support of at least 10 delegates to file the nomination. After withdrawal of nominations, the Returning Officer lists the candidates left in the fray for each state unit of the party i.e. PCC. sends to The Returning Office is the Chairman of the Central Election Authority. Madhusudan Mistry currently holds this position. If there is only one candidate in the electoral field, he is elected president uncontested. If there are two, the PCC delegates must vote in favor of one of them. If there are more than two candidates, the delegates must cast their preference votes for at least two candidates. Thus, under the single transfer method, the person with the highest number of votes will be declared the party president.

A cry for transparency on the one hand and tradition on the other
A group of Congress leaders advocating transparency and reforms in the electoral process have argued that if the electoral rolls are published, candidates will know who to contact to vote. Manish Tewari argues that the support of 10 delegates is necessary for nomination. If the list of delegates is not made public, there is a risk of cancellation of the nomination of the candidates. The Central Election Authority may reject the nomination on the ground that the proposers are not delegates. Karti Chidambaram, Shashi Tharoor, Pradyot Bordoloi are also joining her voice.
On the other hand, on this demand, the Chairman of Central Election Authority of Congress Madhusudan Mistry and the party leadership say that whoever wants the list of PCC delegates, he should go to the headquarters of each state unit or state Congress Committee. A list is available. Tiwari and other leaders say that going to 28 State Congress and 9 Union Territories units for voter list is a very difficult task for a potential candidate. What is the problem in publishing the list on the party website?
…and Netaji Subhash’s way out of the Congress, the story of the 1939 elections, which led to a rift between Gandhi and Bose!
Congress general secretary and media in-charge Jairam Ramesh is calling on tradition. He said that the voter list was never made public in the election of the Congress President before or after independence. Not even in 1997 and 2000 when there was more than one candidate for the post of President. KC Venugopal is also calling the election process an ‘internal process’ and insisting that the voter list will not be made public.

Voting exceptions for the office of President in Congress
Pre-independence and post-independence presidents have generally been elected unopposed in the Congress. Voting came as an exception. The last election for the post of Congress president was in 2000 in which Sonia Gandhi defeated Jitendra Prasad in a one-sided contest. Gandhi got 7,448 delegate votes while Prasad got only 94 votes. In 1997 there was also voting for the Congress President and there were more than two candidates then. In that election, Sitaram Kesari defeated veterans like Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot. Kesari got 6224 votes, Pawar got 882 and Pilot got 354 votes.

The Gandhi family ‘occupied’ the post of President for 25 years
Sonia Gandhi became the Congress president for the first time in 1998. In the unopposed 2000 elections, he was challenged by Jitendra Prasad after 2 years, but he won the election unilaterally. Since then, the post of Congress president has been continuously held by the Gandhi family. He never faced any challenge. In 2017, Sonia Gandhi was succeeded by her son Rahul Gandhi as the President, but he resigned after the Congress’s humiliating defeat in the 2019 elections. Sonia Gandhi has been the interim president since then. Meanwhile, 10 presidents changed in BJP. Kushabhau Thackeray, Bangaru Laxman, Jana Krishnamurthy, Venkaiah Naidu, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and now JP Nadda. These are the names who have been the president of BJP since 1998. On the other hand, the top post in the Congress remained with the Gandhi family.

Will the reins of Congress remain with the Gandhi family?
G-23, a group of disaffected leaders within the Congress, raised their voice only to demand organizational elections in the Congress. Now elections are going to be held after a long wait, so this time the discussion is hot that a non-Gandhi will become the president. The reason is that Rahul Gandhi does not want to be the president. In such a situation, a close leader of the Gandhi family can get this responsibility. Names like Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge are coming up for this. However, both the leaders are terming the speculations of their candidature as rumours, and both want to make Rahul Gandhi the President. So efforts to convince them are on. On the other hand, there is talk of Shashi Tharoor contesting the election. He has said to clear the picture about his candidature in the next one-two weeks. Together with them, the Congress leaders have been urged to come forward to contest the election for the post of President. If Rahul Gandhi agrees to take over the post of President, he can hardly be challenged. But if he is not ready then the election will be interesting. Leaders like Prithviraj Chavan have publicly spoken out against being made a ‘puppet president’.

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