Congress seeks declaration: Members should never criticise party at public forms
Following several open criticism aimed at Congress by its group of 23 leaders (G-23), the party has now sought an undertaking from leaders and workers to never criticise the party's policies and programmes in public forums 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 October 16, Sonia Gandhi had issued an indirect attack at the G-23 leaders and said that there is no need to speak to her through the media and suggested partymen to speak to her directly.
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.
A delegation of 23 members (G-23) of Congress in August last year wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi demanding a slew of organisational reforms.
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.