Congress amends constitution, gives 50% quota to SCs, STs, women in CWC

Raipur | Updated: 25 February, 2023 8:42 pm IST
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with Sonia Gandhi at its plenary session in Raipur on Saturday.

In a major move, Congress has amended its constitution to provide a 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), women, youngsters and minorities in its highest decision making body.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will now include the former prime ministers from the party and the former AICC chiefs, as per its constitution amended at its 85th plenary session here on Saturday.

85 major and minor amendments have been incorporated in the Congress Constitution after detailed deliberations by the party’s Constitution Amendments Committee.
Veteran leader and former Union minister Ambika Soni who chaired the committee to suggest necessary amendments in the party constitution proposed the amendment on the second day of 85th Congress plenary session at Nava Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

Elaborating on the proposed amendment, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala called the move as ‘Samajik Nyay Ka Agaz’.
Surjewala said that the Ambika Soni-led committee has proposed 50 per cent reservation for the members belonging to SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women in all party posts — from Congress Working Committee to AICC delegates.

The amendment was part of the concept of “50 Under 50” as enunciated in the Udaipur Shivir in May last year.

The number of CWC members, who will now be nominated by the Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, has also been increased to 35. CWC, the party’s highest decision making body currently has 23 members.

From now on, the party will focus on digital membership and all records will be maintained digitally, mandatory introduction of mother’s and wife’s name in membership documents and automatic elevation of elected representatives of Panchayat Raj institutions and Cooperative Societies as PCC delegates. The proposals were approved unanimously.
“In our membership form, we earlier only had male and female categories. As has been pointed out by Rahul Gandhi ji and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, we are now including a third gender category as well,” Surjewala said.

Announcing an expansion in the AICC  membership, Surjewala said that according to the amended rules, there will now be one AICC delegate for every six PCC delegates — the number so long had been one AICC delegate for every eight PCC delegate. The number of members who can be co-opted into the AICC has also been increased from 15 per cent of total elected AICC members to 25 per cent.

The party also proposed to amend the Constitution to eliminate toppling of elected governments through purchasing legislators, after it lost five state governments to defection.

The resolution also termed the Electoral Bonds as “fatally flawed and fully corrupt” and promised to set up a National Election Fund to which all may contribute.

“During elections, funds will be allocated to political parties using a transparent and fair criteria laid down by law,” the resolution said.
The party also pointed out how more than 14 recognised political parties, several activists and computer scientists raised concerns on the efficacy of EVMs.

“The Congress promises to restore the faith of every voter in the integrity of the electoral process. The Congress will build the widest possible consensus with all like-minded political parties to take up the issue with ECI, and if they do not respond, then go to Court,” the resolution read.

For using on alliances ahead of the assembly polls and the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha election, the Congress’ political resolution said, “Unity of secular and socialist forces will be the hallmark of the future of the Congress party. Congress should go all out to identify, mobilise and align like-minded secular forces. We should include secular regional forces who agree with our ideology. There is an urgent need for a united opposition to take on the NDA on common ideological grounds. Emergence of any third force will provide advantage to the BJP/NDA.”

It also said that wherever the Congress is the main opposition party, “we should be a responsible and responsive opposition. While campaigning, focus should be on the respective local issues” and the “well-crafted and thoroughly deliberated Udaipur Nav Sankalp will be taken up on a mission mode”.

The resolution asked the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to implement all the resolutions, especially those of the organisation in “letter and spirit” within an immediate time frame.
On anti-defection, the draft resolution said, “The Congress pioneered the Constitutional Amendment on anti-defection, and took several measures during the UPA-2 government to strengthen it. Since 2014, the BJP has engineered mass defections, purchased legislators and thus toppled democratically elected government after government. The Congress will amend the Constitution to eliminate such practices.”

The party said that during 75 years, the country has not witnessed “such a disastrous situation as seen during the past eight and half years—of fear, hate and intimidation.” It said the BJP and its government has sought to demolish the national ethos built upon by those who led the freedom struggle and nurtured by successive governments.

The grand old party also promised that “the independence and integrity of the judiciary will be maintained and protected at all costs and will initiate a comprehensive review of all laws, rules and regulations to repeal those that are outdated, unjust, or unreasonably restrict the freedoms of the people”.
The party also said that Congress will pass a new law to “prevent and punish hate crimes”.

“In the last eight and a half years under the BJP government, the politics of hate has assumed alarming proportions and religious polarisation has reached its peak. Hate crimes and atrocities have increased manifold. Vigilante right wing groups incite violence on various trivial issues. These groups operate with impunity and have started acting like police, spreading anarchy and fear. This fear in the minds of minorities is the aim of the BJP/RSS regime. During the course of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, it was clear that the majority of Indians yearn for love, peace and harmony,” the political resolution said.
The three-day plenary session started on Friday. And will conclude on Sunday with a massive public meeting in Raipur.

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