14-L YC members in TN fake! Cong to probe
WEDNESDAY, 30 MAY 2012 00:27 J GOPIKRISHNAN | NEW DELHI
The Youth Congress is facing a great vanishing syndrome in Tamil Nadu. The membership of the Youth Congress has sharply declined from 14 lakh to 89,000 in the past two years.
AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi has appointed a high-level team headed by his close aide Sachin Rao to probe into the rigging of membership drive in 2010.
Surprising everyone in April 2010, Tamil Nadu’s Youth Congress unit registered 14 lakh members when Rahul introduced new mechanism for its elections and membership drive. In Tamil Nadu, the Youth Congress is sharply divided into factions, one led by Home Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti and the other one by Shipping Minister GK Vasan.
By registering 14 lakh members in 2010, Tamil Nadu Youth Congress topped the list across the country in terms of enrolling new members. It is a different matter that High Command did not bother to look into the complaints of the Vasan faction against Karti for the membership drive.
Buoyed over the unthinkable rise in membership, Rahul Gandhi in Chennai in mid-2010 declared that by 2021 someone from Youth Congress could be the Chief Minister of the State. Rahul even floated the idea of going alone ditching the four-decade long alliance with Dravidian parties.
In 2010 State Youth Congress election for new office bearers, Vasan faction managed to win only one post of president of the State Unit of YC. All other posts, including the district-level positions, were bagged by people close to Karti.
The Tamil Nadu Youth Congress president, M Yuvaraja, who belongs to Vasan faction, was unable to function for the past two years as the entire committee was loyal to the faction led by Karti. Outraged over Karti’s highhandedness, Yuvaraja even conducted a Press conference in PCC headquarters and leveled charges against Karti in manipulating the Youth Congress membership drive.
The High Command finally woke up to the rigging charge in May 2012, when it found that the recent membership count fell to a shameful figure of just 89,000. How Youth Congress got 14 lakh memberships in 2010? A series of complaints to Rahul Gandhi and high command by different factions tell a sordid story of rigging, forgery and fraud.
Leaders belonging to Vasan faction have regularly complained to Rahul Gandhi and Congress high command that that the rival faction copied lakhs of names from the mobile phone companies’ subscriber-lists on ‘Student Plans’ to create bogus members. According to the new election mechanism invented by Rahul in 2010, a member has to pay Rs 15 as annual fee. But payment of two years fee at the time of enrollment was mandatory. The members had to also provide photo and education certificates. These documents were managed from mobile phone companies ‘Student Plan’ subscriber list.
The Vasan faction has also been alleging that data from Colleges and MLM (Multi Level Marketing) companies were used to hype the membership and the leaders of various factions remitted the bulk amount of fee to the party. Complaints to the High Command allege that even Returning Officers posted by Central leadership were bribed to accept the bogus membership forms.
There are also some wild allegations that Youth Congress factions sourced Government data to fudge their membership in 2010. The Vasan faction also alleged that the Karti-led group had arranged around 100 mobile vans across the State in connection with membership drive in 2010. According to them, these State of the art mobile vans were equipped with facility of photo capturing and scanning machines to provide spot membership. They allege these mobile vans were supplied by a reputed computer manufacturer.
According to Youth Congress leaders, getting a clear sense of rigging and forgery in 2010, Rahul has asked Sachin Rao to thoroughly investigate the matter. Rao, himself a computer expert, has formed a team of technical wizards to probe into the “high profile membership fraud”.