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‘Third Gender’, mother’s & wife’s names on membership forms: 6 big changes in Congress constitution

At Raipur plenary, Congress gen secy Randeep Surjewala also announced expansion of party's highest decision-making body CWC, with reservations for SC/ST, minorities, women, youth.

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Raipur: Addition of third gender category in its membership form, including the names of wives and mothers in membership data and reservations in its highest decision-making body were some of the amendments announced by the Congress in its party constitution in its ongoing 85th plenary session in Raipur, Saturday.

The party also went in for an expansion in its highest decision-making body, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), to include all former party presidents (Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as of now), former Prime Ministers from the party (Manmohan Singh in todays’ context), leaders of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, among others.

Speaking to about 15,000 assembled delegates, party general secretary and convenor of the plenary’s Constitutional Amendment Committee, Randeep Surjewala, said that 85 changes had been made to the party constitution, six of which were announced by him from the plenary stage.

“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.

He added: “Keeping with the times, whereas these forms earlier had only the names of a member’s father, it will now also have the names of their mothers and wives.”

Changes were also announced in the composition of the CWC — the body which so long comprised 23 delegates, plus the Congress president and chairman of its parliamentary party, will now have 35 delegates (instead of 23), with 50 per cent reservation for scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), other backward classes (OBC), minority, women and youth (those under 50) members.

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Intermediate administrative committee, digital push

Surgewala also announced a change in the composition of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC), with per cent of delegates being chosen from SC, ST, OBC and minority categories. Further, fifty per cent of seats in both reserved and unreserved categories will be for women and youth members.

Elected party representatives, at the block, panchayat, municipality, district and state levels, will automatically be made PCC delegates.

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 changes also introduced a new administrative committee at the “intermediary level” between the block/panchayat Congress committees and the district congress committees.

“Whether to call this intermediary level the mandal level or something else will be decided by the Pradesh Congress Committee,” Surjewala said.

Additionally the party indicated that it is on its way to becoming completely digital. While it had begun a system of digital memberships last year, Surjewala announced that starting 1 January 2025, there will be no paper memberships. All memberships will be done digitally and all membership records will also be digitised.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

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