Few takers for Rahul’s ‘youthful’ idea

While Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is pushing for inclusion of the youth in the political system, it seems the youth in his own parliamentary constituency Amethi have stopped buying his idea altogether.

As per the latest count, the membership of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) in Amethi stands at a little over 3,100, down from more than 22,000 in 2010. In the nearly four-month-long membership drive in central zone of Uttar Pradesh which saw multiple extensions owing to a poor response and concluded in November last year, 2,873 new membership forms were received from Amethi. A few of these were rejected during scrutiny while just nearly 300 youths of the 22,000 renewed their membership.

In Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the situation is no good. Here, only 2,361 new membership forms were received while in 2010 it had more than 17,500 members. This is yet another cause of concern for the party which is fast losing its base in Gandhi bastions. In the Assembly elections last year, it could not win any of the five seats in Rae Bareli while it suffered defeats in three of the five seats in Amethi.

In other constituencies, the situation isn't good either. In the state capital, 2361 new forms were received while earlier, the membership stood at nearly 21,000. Expectedly, the membership is among the worst in Samajawadi Party strongholds of Etawah and Kannauj, where the membership forms have failed to cross even the 1,000 mark. IYC members say that the SP queered the pitch by keeping Akhilesh in the front and promising freebies to the youth.

Overall, 47,249 new membership forms were received from 26 Lok Sabha constituencies which form the central zone of IYC in UP. A few hundred among these have been rejected. Although the IYC election commissioners claim to have no information about the renewals - for whom the fee of Rs 15 was waived - sources say only a few hundred have renewed their membership in each constituency. The final count is expected to be between 50,000-60,000, a far cry from 3.25 lakh applications in 2010. Upon scrutiny, the final figure still stood at a colossal 2.66 lakh members in 2010.

A major reason cited by IYC members is the demoralised party workers. "Last time, with the 2012 Assembly elections due, people worked hard and spent a lot of money hoping that they will be given tickets. But poor response from the party demoralised the workers," said outgoing IYC president from Amethi Brijendra Shukla. Outgoing president of central zone Tarun Patel blames the idea of forming committees at the booth level, saying these failed to charm the youth.

To widen the organisational base, Rahul Gandhi had conceptualised the idea of forming committees down to the booth level, apart from committees for 26 Lok Sabha and 131 Vidhan Sabha constituencies of central UP. Now with just 50,000-60,000 members in the entire zone, the idea of forming committees for 41,679 booths in the zone seems a distant dream.

In Amethi today

LUCKNOW: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be on a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi on February 5 and 6, where he will interact with public and hold meetings with party cadres. Since this is Rahul's first visit to Amethi after being appointed the party vice-president, party workers are excited and have made arrangements to welcome him at numerous places, said party MLA from Rudrapur Akhilesh Pratap Singh.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.