Trouble for Congress in Kerala too? Unit committees ruffle party leaders’ feathers at Chintan Shivir- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: The party restructuring starting with the formation of the Congress unit committees (CUCs) at the booth level dominated the discussions on day one of the Navasankalp Chintan Shivir which began in Kozhikode on Saturday.

The CUC mechanism, which demands a complete overhaul of the organisation, has been implemented since last October but the party machinery is yet to come to terms with it.

The organisational revamp is one of the five segments being discussed at the two-day Shivir. The others are election, politics, fund mobilisation and outreach programmes.

The implementation of the CUC without discussing it in the party forums was severely criticised on day one.

“The implementation of CUC was done in haste and without proper consultation. Many leaders do not know what it is all about,” complained a leader from South Kerala.

The CUC plan, drafted by a few leaders close to Congress state president K Sudhakaran, has been envisioned as the base of the organisation which comes under the booth committee.

Currently, booth, mandalam, block, district and state committee is the hierarchical organisational structure of the Congress party and CUC comes after splitting a booth committee into minimum five units.

As per the draft, a CUC will have 50 houses under it. These will be identified ‘Congress houses’ wherein all house members would be Congress members and ‘Congress friendly houses’ where at least one family member would be a Congress member.

The primary duty of the CUC is to intervene in the matters of these houses and protect their rights. A CUC will have five office-bearers — a president, a secretary, a treasurer and two nominees from the booth committee. A woman must be among the first three positions of CUC and Dalit representation is also mandatory as per the draft.

However, sources said the CUCs are not welcomed by many mandalam and booth presidents as they fear they will lose their significance.

Already, the Congress leadership has communicated to them that around 60% of the block and mandalam committee office-bearers who have been in the position for more than a decade would be dropped.

The other suggestions in the draft which may cause heartburn are the removal of leaders who have been holding the same post for five consecutive years and disallowing one leader to hold two positions at the same time like a parliamentary position and a party position.

Volunteer brigade at grassroots

The formation of a volunteer brigade at the grassroots level is another major proposal in the organisational draft. The brigade is envisioned to remain active during times of disaster, pandemic and in fields such as palliative care which touch people’s lives.

Sources said the proposal was borne out of the realisation that the LDF had made electoral gains by undertaking such activities during the Covid times.

On Sunday, the approved decisions in each segment will be presented, besides a calendar for 2024 general elections.

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