Facing a severe existential crisis and failing to put up any front against the juggernaut of BJP led NDA, Congress- India’s grand old party, is switching tactics and emulating its arch-rival BJP. According to news reports, Congress is discontinuing the ‘missed call’ system of attaining membership in the party, after receiving a miserable response.
Instead, for the primary membership of the party, an individual will now have to pay a fee of five rupees upfront. Furthermore, only those who will connect 100 or more members to the party will be granted an active membership.
“Congress will soon launch a Congress membership drive with permission from the State President Dr Rameshwar Oraon. The missed call membership model is being discontinued. A fee of five rupees will have to be paid for primary membership and at least 100 members will have to be connected to become an active member.” said Brijendra Prasad Singh, Congress District President, Dhanbad.
It was BJP that had first floated the concept of ‘missed call membership’ and it became the largest political party in the world through this initiative only. However, citing a lack of participation and inter-connectedness with the party, BJP shelved the plan. It later introduced the concept of charging 5 rupees for primary membership and the subsequent ‘connecting 100 member initiative.’
While there is no shame in emulating a model that is effective and works for other parties, but it is the same Congress party that had once mocked BJP for trying to connect with its fan base by using the missed call model. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
While in a party like BJP, an outsider has a chance that he/she will rise through the ranks and someday may assume the highest chair of authority; it is not quite the same in the case of Congress party.
Reaching the top echelons of the Congress party is still a utopian dream which very few have had the fortune to achieve. And those who have reached the highest power corridors, inadvertently the Gandhi surname attached to their names.
A couple of years back, Congress had to backpedal on its ‘With INC’ (Indian National Congress) app from the Google Play Store, after it evoked a tepid response from the public, garnering only 15,000 downloads in its lifetime.
While Congress is still undecided on naming the Party President, which by all estimates will be Rahul Gandhi again — BJP, on the other hand, under the leadership of JP Nadda is making giant strides. Even the fortress of Mamata’s Bengal is looking fragile and could very well be demolished by BJP in the upcoming months. And the biggest reason for it will be: the army of foot soldiers that BJP prepared and properly trained, for the good part of last 6-7 years – something which Congress never paid any heed to.
Congress has come to its senses, few years too late. Since 2014, BJP has massively scaled up its endeavour to bring young blood into its ranks. Hopefully, Congress gets a booster shot of confidence through the change in strategy because the Indian democracy needs an opposition, a strong opposition.