Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s call for greater youth participation in the political system seems to be getting an overwhelming response.
If membership figures from states and union territories where the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) has completed its enrollment drives are anything to go by, the Amethi MP’s ambition of making IYC the “world’s largest youth body in politics” may soon bear fruit.
IYC units in Punjab, Gujarat, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Daman & Diu — where the membership drives have been completed — have collectively enrolled over 25 lakh members.
The figure is a quantum leap from the abysmal two lakh members that these units collectively had just two years ago when Rahul had taken over the responsibility of “reinventing and rejuvenating” this nearly defunct frontal organisation.
The biggest achievement for IYC, so far, has been its membership drive in Tamil Nadu, where the Congress has long played second fiddle to regional satraps like DMK and AIADMK. IYC in Tamil Nadu has enrolled 12.50 lakh members.
“Earlier, IYC membership drives were largely an eyewash. Rahulji disbanded the old system under which bogus members were enrolled. His interaction with the youth across the state has led to the overwhelming response to the drive which otherwise drew just over a lakh members,” said M Yuvaraj, the newly elected president of IYC in Tamil Nadu.
The membership drives had begun to yield a good response during the tenure of former IYC president Ashok Tanwar, who was succeeded by Maharashtra MLA Rajeev Satav, in February.
“Earlier the membership in states like Gujarat and Punjab would range between 28,000 and 40,000, while union territories like Puducherry, Daman & Diu and north eastern states like Tripura would enroll just a few thousand members. Even in a big state like Tamil Nadu, the membership would hardly cross a lakh. Also, a large section of these members would be bogus as then there was no genuine database maintained,” said Tanwar.
Satav has been instrumental in streamlining the processes advised by Rahul. “In the earlier system, there was no way to check whether the enrolled members even existed. Now, we have a complete database of members with their photo-IDs, residence proof and professions,” said Satav.