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Can’t criticise in public: Cong adds clause to membership forms

“I shall not, directly or indirectly, openly or otherwise, adversely criticise the accepted policies and programmes of the party, except through party forums,” read the newly constituted membership form.

SNS | New Delhi |

Congress in a bid to thwart public censure of its policies and programmes by its leaders especially the G23 has now sought an undertaking from leaders and workers to never criticise party and its various actions in public for those who aspire to take up primary membership.

“I subscribe to and work for promoting the principles of secularism, socialism and democracy. I shall not, directly or indirectly, openly or otherwise, adversely criticise the accepted policies and programmes of the party, except through party forums,” read the newly constituted membership form.

This comes after several senior leaders, who are a part of G-23, criticised the party during media interactions and even questioned the organisational structure, demanding elections within the party.

Kapil Sibal, a G-23 leader, in September had said that the party leaders are unaware of who is taking the decisions in the party as there is no president.

“In our party, there is no president so we don’t know who is taking these decisions. We know and yet we don’t know,” he had said. Ghulam Nabi Azad had also written a letter to party’s interim President Sonia Gandhi demanding an urgent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet.

Ahead of the meeting, the G-23 leaders had demanded elections for CWC members, Central Election Committee (CEC) members, and Parliamentary Board Elections.

During the CWC meeting on 16 October, Sonia Gandhi had lambasted the G23 indirectly and said that there was no need to speak to her with media as a medium.

In a way, she displayed that her position in the party cannot be questioned as she is the “full-time and hands-on” party chief.

The membership form is being seen as an indirect warning from the party’s High Command to G-23 leaders that criticism outside the party is not acceptable.

Apart from this, the membership form also abstains new leaders from consuming alcohol and drugs.

It further seeks “manual labour as may be prescribed by the Working Commitee.”

As part of the membership form, the Congress has said that its objective is the welfare and progress of all Indians and the party has the objective to establish a socialist state through peaceful and constitutional means, which is based on parliamentary democracy.

The Congress also seeks to establish a regime where there is equality in opportunities and economic, political and social rights and aims to bring world peace and universal brotherhood in society, as per the new membership form.

(With agency inputs)