New Delhi: Congress membership drive that began on November 1, 2021, is nearing its completion on March 31, 2022. So far, around 4.5 crore people have become Congress members.
The campaign has both the options of filing a slip as well as a digital option to join the party. However, there are talks about the digital membership program gaining emphasis with the 2024 general elections in focus.
As per sources, while around three crore people joined the party in the first five months using the conventional method, the members by digital membership were nearly 1.30 crores in the first 40 days of the launch of the drive.
The significance of digital membership can be understood by the fact that Rahul Gandhi has taken the digital membership. Even Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will take digital membership soon.
As per the information provided by party sources, 42 per cent of women and 47 per cent of men aged between 18-40 years of age have taken the digital membership till now. Congress had attempted to tap on youth and women voters in the recently concluded UP elections.
The party membership has been categorised and reserved as 18 per cent for generals, 32 per cent for OBCs, 21 per cent for SCs, 12 per cent for STs, 10 per cent for minorities, and 4 per cent for economically weaker sections.
The digital membership drive began in Telangana in February and it is active in 16 states as of now. Telangana has been heading this drive with nearly 35 lakh registrations. As of Saturday, Karnataka had 34 lakh, Maharashtra and 15 lakh, Gujarat had 10 lakh, Chhattisgarh had 5 lakh, Bihar had 4 lakh, Delhi had 3 lakh, and Rajasthan had nearly 3 lakh participations.
The participation numbers are currently being led by southern India, and the rest of the states will soon be included in the drive including those which have recently concluded assembly elections. According to a source related to the campaign, the paper participants will also be included in digital participation soon.
As per an estimate by the party sources, by the end of the drive on March 31, there will be nearly four crore paper registered members and two crores digital members. These numbers are nearly double the membership drive from five years ago. Although, the official numbers are still awaited.
Talking about the features of the digital membership, a Congress leader said that there is no place for any kind of forgery in the process. It is a three-phase process in which the first step includes filling the application form with a photo of the applicant.
The second step involves verification via a One Time Password (OTP). The third step involves cross-checking the application with the data from the Election Commission of India. The most important feature is that the data of every member will be available to the party in just one click. The campaign is being led by Congress’ Data department head Praveen Chakravarty.
As per the strategists of the party, the number of digital members will be authentic and it will be easier to reach them. The campaign is a preparation to compete against BJP in the 2024 general elections. However, network and connectivity are the barriers in this campaign.
The drive is being taken seriously within Congress as well. A source close to Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said that Gehlot had announced that only those will be given a ticket for assembly elections who would have secured digital membership at their booths.
It is clear that Congress is trying hard to work on a grassroots level to resolve its internal issues to be able to corner BJP in the upcoming elections.