Debating India

Democracy? It’s different in Cong

Tuesday 31 May 2005, by ROY*Bhaskar

NEW DELHI: It may be a contradiction in terms, but when it comes to holding elections for its organisational posts, Congress mostly prefers the ’consensus’ route.

But there are good reasons for the party leadership’s insistence on completing the ongoing poll process on the basis of consensus, avoiding straight contests as far as possible.

After a series of bitter electoral battles beginning with last summer’s general election and at least another half a dozen due within a year, the party bosses are determined to complete the process without giving scope for any rivalry and tension over contests.

With the party hitting the big time after its return to power at the Centre, there is considerable interest in the 10 posts of the Congress Working Committee - the other 10 by convention are nominated by the party president.

As per rules, the CWC members are elected at the party’s plenary session which follows the election of the Congress president. Though the date and venue of the plenary session are yet to be decided, the race for the party’s highest policy making body is hotting up.

Asked if direct contests would be allowed for the CWC posts, party spokesman Anand Sharma said: "It is entirely for the Congress president to decide whether elections will take place or the consensus approach will prevail."

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