Transparency is key for Congress polls

Giving in to increasing demands from a number of senior leaders, the Congress decided over the weekend to partially make public the list of delegates for its upcoming internal organisational election. The party’s internal poll panel head, Madhusudan Mistry, said delegates for the party chief’s election will get QR-coded identity cards and their list will be available in his office for any candidate to see. There are around 9,000 delegates for the election and a candidate needs the backing of at least 10 to make their nomination valid.

These elections are crucial for the Congress if it wants to reverse its poor run at the electoral hustings in recent years, and put up a credible challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a string of state elections over the next year-and-a-half, and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. But the run-up to the election has been mired in controversy with a raft of high-profile exits and senior leaders publicly airing concerns about electoral fairness. If the announcement made on Saturday puts some of those concerns to rest, it will be good for the party.

To take on a dominant BJP and even compete with resurgent regional outfits, the Congress has to effect change across several axes: Messaging, leadership and organisation. The upcoming elections provide the party an opportunity to rejuvenate its grassroots network and show the world that it still is a robust political outfit. For this, the credibility of the internal electoral process cannot be compromised, and the party must dispel any impression that the new president of the party is handpicked. Ensuring transparency in the selection process is, therefore, a good move and the party must continue to safeguard this exercise, for its own political future.

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