No in-house quota, but Cong mulls affirmative action
Express News Service Posted online: Monday , Mar 22, 2010 at 0242 hrs
Lucknow : Unable to reserve seats for women within the party in the
ongoing organisational polls, the Congress is trying to find out
alternative ways to ensure that women get enough representation in
During the meeting of the returning officers in the state on Sunday,
Oscar Farnandes, chairman of Congress central election authority,
instructed that more women should be motivated and encouraged to be
elected or else the party will have to nominate them.
Fernandes was speaking at a gathering of returning officers for the
state organisational polls at IMA Bhawan in Lucknow.
He also emphasised that even weaker sections of the society should be
encouraged to come forward.
While Fernandes refused to comment after the meeting, J D Seelam,
additional state Returning Officer for UP election authority, said:
"We already have a provision in our constitution to have around
one-third women representation in our organisation. Though, we have
not reserved any posts for women, we can always encourage them to come
Asked how they would nominate women members if there are not enough
women elected in the state, Seelam said:
"We have a provision to introduce 15 per cent additional posts. In
case, not enough women representatives are elected then we might
nominate them on these posts."
"It is, however, the second step and in the first place, we will try
to encourage as many people as possible," added Seelam.
Interestingly, while Congress workers claim that the provision for
one-third women representation is already present in the party's
constitution, even the existing body in Uttar Pradesh does not have
enough women representation.
Asked about this, senior members of the Congress election authority
admitted that they would try and implement it more vigorously this
To charge or not to charge
The party's decision of charging Rs 5 from the members for providing
Unique Identity Cards has not been received too well.
Party workers expressed their dissatisfaction in the meeting of the
"It was difficult to collect even Rs 3 for the membership. How will we
motivate people to pay Rs 5 for ID cards?" asked a returning officer.
"Congress workers will have to pay this money from our their pocket,"
said a returning officer.
Even Rita Bahuguna Joshi came out in support of the party workers in
the state during the meeting and asked the gathering to vote for the
amount of money, which should be kept for
ID card. Since, Congress workers did not even agree on Re 1, it was
decided that the matter would again be discussed at the AICC level.
"The cost of printing the ID cards itself is coming to around Re 1 and
then its distribution and other things. We will try to keep it to a
minimum of Rs 2 like in Rajasthan," said Seelam.
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