Not all Youth Cong office-bearers are elected

The two-day Indian Youth Congress (IYC) meeting from Monday is called "National level elected office-bearers` convention".

New Delhi: The two-day Indian Youth Congress (IYC) meeting from Monday is called "National level elected office-bearers` convention". But while its state unit leaders are democratically chosen, those at the national level are selected by a team led by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, party sources say.

The national level IYC leaders are selected through a screening process, which includes written tests, interviews and group discussions, the sources say.

"This puts a question mark on the perfection of Gandhi`s efforts to democratise the IYC," said a Congress leader who did not wish to be identified.

"Transformation" has been the catch word of the organisation after Gandhi, 41, became the party general secretary in charge of the youth wing in 2007.

Ten secretaries and a general secretary were added to the national committee, headed by Rajeev Satav, a legislator from Maharashtra. All the 11 leaders had undergone the corporate-type selection process, the sources say.

Before the selection, national level delegates attended two camps where management experts and subject experts addressed them.

Satav himself was nominated to the post in 2010.

In the hunt for professional talent, some leaders who could not make it to the state committees have been able to become national office-bearers, an IYC insider said.

In a massive mobilisation under Gandhi, 11 million youths have enrolled with the IYC already, organisation sources said. IYC is still in the process of documenting the members` details, including their photos and age proof.

Elections to 21 major state units have been completed. About 7,000 newly elected office-bearers are attending the national convention.

IYC follows a different pattern from the Congress: the youth wing has Lok Sabha level committees unlike district level committees for the parent party. IYC has more than one state unit for bigger states. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, there are four units.

Political circles admit that the elections at the state level have been free and democratic. The process has been overseen by the Foundation of Advanced Management of Elections (FAME) led by former election commissioners L.M. Lyngodh and K.J. Rao.

But the selection process to higher posts is discussed in hushed tones in Congress circles.

"Rahul Gandhi has introduced reasonable democracy in such a big organisation through fair polls up to state level, but created confusion through corporate-type tests on the other hand for the national office-bearers. With most IYC members new to politics, the dividend for the Congress is yet to be seen," said the party leader.

As per earlier announcements, the elections which began in 2008 were to be over last year. "It has been delayed for various reasons. We are hopeful of completing them by next month," an IYC leader said.


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