The Congress' 85th plenary session, which is currently underway in Chhattisgarh's Raipur, witnessed major amendments to the party's constitution on Saturday, 25 February.
These amendments include:
50 percent reservation across All India Congress Committee (AICC) and the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) posts for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes
Total members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to be increased from 25 to 35, of which 50% seats will be reserved for SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, youth and women
Only digital membership moving forward
Inclusion of transgenders in all forms in the party. Also, the category for the name of the mother and wife to be included
All elected representatives of the Congress to be automatically made the delegates of block-, district- and state-level committees
One AICC member to be chosen for every 6 PCC delegates
Defection Woes Led To Amendment
The party highlighted that the reason for amending its constitution was to eliminate practices of defection.
"The Congress pioneered the Constitutional Amendment on anti-defection, and took several measures during the UPA-2 government to strengthen it. Since 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has engineered mass defections, purchased legislators, and, thus, toppled democratically elected government after government. The Congress will amend the constitution to eliminate such practices."Congress Resolution
Defection of Congress leaders to other parties (mainly to the BJP) has been a major issue resulting in governments getting toppled in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and other states.
Speaking to The Quint at the plenary session, a Madhya Pradesh Congress leader said that this resolution is to ensure that leaders do not defect for monetary gains or other favours. It was discussed thoroughly in the draft committees before sending it to the steering committee for approval.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government was toppled after 27 MLAs, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, defected to the BJP. This led to the ousting of the then chief minister Kamal Nath, allowing Shivraj Singh Chauhan to regain power.
Stung by two governments getting toppled due to the defection of the MLAs, Congress leaders say that strengthening of the anti-defection laws is the need of the hour.
'BJP Fuels Fire of Fear': What Did Sonia Gandhi Say?
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi, while addressing the plenary session, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of spewing hate and 'fueling the fire of hatred in the country.'
"The BJP and PM Modi fuel the fire of fear and hatred against Indian people... They have attacked the minorities, Dalits, women, adivasis, minorities, and have even mocked Gandhiji..."Sonia Gandhi
Talking about the recently concluded Bharat Jodo Yatra, she said, "What gratifies me is that my innings could conclude with the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The yatra has renewed the rich policy of dialogue. It has shown that the Congress stands with the people and is ready to fight with them."
Sonia Gandhi also thanked and appreciated the party's current president Mallikarjun Kharge. She said:
"His journey from a grassroot worker to the president is a matter of pride. It reflects the idea of India that we live for... It also talks about our internal democracy."