Anyone wishing to take up the primary membership of Congress will have to make a declaration of abstention from alcohol and drugs and give an undertaking to never criticise the party’s policies and programmes in public forums.
According to the grand old party’s membership form, new members have to give a declaration that they will not own any property in excess of ceiling laws and will undertake tasks including “manual labour” prescribed by the party.
“This is an old form and is part of our party constitution. And we expect all Congress members, including new ones, to follow these norms,” said Madhusudan Mistry, the chairman of the Central Election Authority of the Congress.
The Congress will launch a membership drive on November 1 and it will continue till March 31 next year before organisational elections.
The election of the new Congress president will be held between August 21 and September 20 next year, according to a schedule approved by the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party.
The party has convened a meeting on October 26 to discuss the modalities of the membership drive and other issues.
The membership form lists a 10-point declaration for those wanting to become its members.
“I am a habitual wearer of certified Khadi; I abstain from alcoholic drinks and intoxicant drugs; I neither believe in nor practise social discrimination in any shape or form and undertake to work for its removal; I believe in an integrated society without distinction of religion or caste; I undertake to perform minimum tasks including manual labour as may be prescribed by the Working Committee; I do not own any property in excess of ceiling laws” are among the undertakings a new Congress member must give.
A member will also have to state that “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.”
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.