New Delhi: Already in the soup for not being the potent opposition party in the Centre, India’s grand old party Indian National Congress is once again landed itself into a crisis that can well be touted as the signs of dissent from its youth party cadre.
Over three weeks after the polling for Indian Youth Congress in Karnataka were held, the party is yet to announce the results of the election, moving a directionless wind of dissent in the party’s youth quarters. Party workers and leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction over the delays in results which were to be declared on January 20, but the party has only postponed the announcement of results ever since.
The entire election process was spread over seven long months that kept the party’s youth busy in the election preps without letting them do any productive party work during the course. The grand old party has always pitched itself as the one that introduced IT to the country but is struggling internally to announce the results of its own youth wings results even after three weeks from the polling dates.
One of the major points of arguments in the party circles regarding the issue is also the use of an electronic voting system that was used for the election, while the party at large has been critical about the EVMs during national and state elections.
Some party workers who wished not to be named told Vartha Bharati, that the party cadre and especially those who have contested the election and are aspiring posts in the IYC also believe the use of ballot paper voting system could’ve been better as it provides transparency over the results as against to the rumors that have indicated post-election manipulation of results in EVMs and electronic voting systems.
The party’s election results’ authenticity received a major setback when the party withdrew block-level results, two days after announcing it. It has raised questions over the authenticity of the results. The party however has to answer as to why the results were withdrawn in the first place. Were there errors in the election results?
Users across social media platforms also questioned if the move to withdraw the already declared results was in accordance with the dissatisfaction of leaders of the party who were unhappy with the outcome of the election.
Efforts to get a comment from IYC National President Srinivas BV in this regard were unsuccessful. The story will be updated as and when we get an official statement from Srinivas.
Amidst all this, the Congress is leaving itself high and dry without any external interference, with people now questioning that if the party cannot be transparent, just, and accountable to its own youth cadre, how will it deal with the expectations, hopes, and trust of the people of the country if they win the General or State elections in the future.
The rumors flying thick and fast make it look like it’s a conspiracy to hurt the KPCC president DK Shivakumar who is leading the party in the next elections. He needs a strong youth leader by his side to face the elections. This internal groupism by some vested interests within the party will only end up damaging the party.
With the BJP simplifying its membership and election process, Congress with its outdated and questionable tactics is only widening the gap between itself and the grassroots level workers. A person can join BJP by merely giving a missed call on a number, while the Congress has an astringent and complicated process in place for anybody who wills to join them. The complicated process has so far only kept the youngsters from joining the party against a simplified process of merely having to dial a number.
The onus is now on the INC to come to its own rescue before it’s too late to come back from where it is sliding to. It will not be too far away when the party’s election process, authenticity, and the party itself at large will become a laughing stock.
Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.
This report was first published in thewire.in and has been posted here without any alterations or editing. To read the original report, CLICK HERE
New Delhi: Over 650 members of civil society have demanded a stop to the ‘vendetta politics’ against Harsh Mander and other activists, adding that the Centre has been “misusing” regulatory institutions and laws like the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act (FCRA) to harass civil society institutions.
The statement comes after a case was registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act over alleged violations by two shelter homes in South Delhi which were established by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), an NGO that Mander is associated with.
In the statement, the signatories said that the Centre’s targeting of Mander, a former IAS officer, and the CES is a continuation of the “politics of vendetta” and is symptomatic of how “those who dissent are being dealt with in India today”.
“The egregious attacks on the Centre for Equity Studies ranging from wild accusations of sexual misconduct in two of the children’s homes run by the organisation to the fishing expedition being undertaken by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police are but two examples of the recent attacks on Harsh Mander and the institutions associated with him,” the statement says.
Condemning “the attacks on Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies”, the signatories demanded an end to “vendetta politics” and that regulatory institutions and laws should not be “misused” to harass civil society institutions. “Allow democratic spaces for civil society to operate and give due recognition of their role in nation-building,” the added.
The full statement, along with the list of signatories, has been reproduced below.
Civil Society statement for Harsh Mander/Centre for Equity Studies
Stop vendetta politics against civil society and persecution of citizens associated with civil society
One of the most disturbing trends in India in the recent years, along with the decline in Constitutional values and shrinking space for civil society, is the demonisation and persecution of activists and organisations. The active hounding of Harsh Mander, a former bureaucrat and one of the most respected names in civil society, and the institutions he is associated with like the Centre for Equity Studies (CES) is the most recent example of the vendetta politics of the government.
An officer of the Indian Administrative Service, Harsh Mander quit the civil service in 2002 in the wake of the Gujarat riots and has since then been a part of significant civil society initiatives. He has served as the head of ActionAid India, co-founder of the Centre for Equity Studies, co-founder of Karwan-e-Mohabbat – an initiative to promote love and communal harmony, and was member of the National Advisory Council chaired by the Chairperson of the UPA. His close association with people’s movements including the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) amongst others, gave him a unique perspective on social changes processes that is rare amongst social activists. Throughout his career, Harsh Mander’s central concerns have been the most marginalised people in India – the urban homeless, leprosy patients, Dalits and Muslims, and children living on the streets.
It is this aspect of his work that encapsulated the activities of the Centre for Equity Studies since it was founded more than two decades ago. Over the years, CES has emerged as one of the leading pro-poor policy institutions, bridging grassroots actions with constructive engagement on social policy. Till 2014, CES ran a network of 51 children’s homes across the country covering hundreds of children and was responsible for the Central Government’s guidelines on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for street children. CES brings out the annual India Exclusion Report which has emerged as one of the most authoritative report on social exclusion covering the most marginalised communities in the country. Between 2004 and 2014, CES was part of many of the processes for landmark rights-based legislations like the National Food Security Act and the Right to Information Act.
That the current regime has now chosen to target a distinguished civil society organisation like CES in the continuing politics of vendetta to silence Harsh Mander is symptomatic of how those who dissent are being dealt with in India today. The egregious attacks on the Centre for Equity Studies ranging from wild accusations of sexual misconduct in two of the children’s homes run by the organisation to the fishing expedition being undertaken by the Economics Offences Wing of Delhi Police are but two examples of the recent attacks on Harsh Mander and the institutions associated with him.
As civil society leaders representing a very wide range of constituencies and work across the country, we unequivocally condemn the attacks on Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies and demand:
- An end to vendetta politics towards Harsh Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies
- Stop misusing regulatory institutions and laws like the FCRA to harass Civil Society institutions
- Allow democratic spaces for civil society to operate and give due recognition of their role in nation building