With its new recruitment drive to kick off on October 18, the Congress has introduced several options for new entrants, including single membership.
The membership drive of the Congress in the State will begin on October 18. The drive is being undertaken after a gap of two years, and has several new options. The Congress is aiming to better its earlier target this time round. During the last membership drive, the party was able to get 33 lakh memberships in the State. Though no formal target has been set for this year, party leaders say the idea is to better the past figures. “We have not set any target. I think there is no need to fix targets for a membership drive when it comes to a party like ours. We will try to enrol as many workers as possible,” Congress senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Rapolu Anand Bhaskar told Postnoon on Monday.
This year’s membership drive will have a series of new features. The All India Congress Committee has introduced a tenure of five years for all its members, doing away with the earlier tenure of two years. This means that members who enrol as party activists will be party members for five years. The party has also introduced a unique barcoded number system on application forms. This method was introduced in order to computerise the data pertaining to members and post it online for ready reference. “The unique barcoded numbering system will allow us to computerise the details of our members and easily access the information in future,” Anand Bhaskar added.
Unlike other political parties like TDP and BJP which have a system of two kinds of membership — primary and active — the ruling Congress has decided to provide single membership to all party activists irrespective of their social status. Every leader, from a grassroots worker to the chief minister of AP, will have only single membership.
Commenting on the system, Congress leader and APCC general secretary Abid Rasool Khan said that this would bring in a sense of equality among all the members unlike the dual system, which would create a sort of feeling that they are not equal to other party leaders.
Once the membership drive is over, the entire data of members would be kept in the National Register of Congress Party. The party is also not providing any identity cards to its party members. According to Khan, the issuance of ID cards would lead to misuse by some party activists. “I think the idea behind not issuing ID cards is to prevent some activists from misusing them. These leaders may use their ID cards to get their work done,” Khan said.
No online membership
However, the Congress is yet to catch up with the IT revolution and modern methods like online registration. At a time when political parties, like Telugu Desam Party, are actively encouraging party activists to enrol online, the Congress is lagging behind on this front. “There is no need for us to compete with other political parties or imitate them, especially the TDP. We have our own set of systems to organise the membership drive. We will follow it,” Khan asserted.
The party has also increased the membership fee from Rs.3 to Rs.5 this year keeping in view of inflation.