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Can conduct internal polls only by Dec’17: Cong writes to EC

New Delhi: With the Election Commission’s directive to Congress to conduct the party organisational polls by June, the AICC today questioned the poll body’s jurisdiction in fixing such a date and said the process could only be completed by December.

According to sources, Congress has written to the Election Commission saying that the deadline fixed by it went against the resolution of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), its highest decision-making body, while reaffirming that it required a year to conduct its organisational polls.

“On a jurisdictional basis, we do not believe that the Election Commission can kind of fix a date for any political party, not only us,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

He, however, said the party was neither scared nor hesitant in conducting such polls and asked for six more months’ time for doing so.

“We are fully ready to have it (internal polls), but on a deferment, after we have got all the lists updated,” he said.

On being asked how much time has been sought by the party, Singhvi said, “It is approximately six months more when it (internal polls) will be done.”

The Congress leader said his party was probably the only political outfit to have intra-party elections on a massive scale down to the Tehsil and district level.

“We had those elections despite much opposition from our own members and Rahul Gandhi led that movement for internal democracy. We also have a very high-powered independent Election Commission type of body of retired chief election commissioners for conducting such polls,” he said.

Singhvi said the party has had elections even to the Congress President’s post.

“Other parties have been much more belated than us in doing this. We are not scary or hesitant in any manner. The practical problem is that a proper election involves updated membership lists.

“It is not possible to keep those lists updated in the real sense with so many Assembly and other elections going on.

All we have asked for is deferment of some time so that we can have meaningful elections,” he said.

The Election Commission had recently directed Congress to conduct organisational polls by June 30. AICC general secretary Janaradan Dwivedi had written back to the poll body expressing surprise at fixing such a deadline.

Dwivedi, sources said, had also reaffirmed the decision of CWC for extending the deadline for holding the party internal polls upto December 2017.