Congress to go for digital enrolment of members replacing paper-based process

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NEW DELHI: Disregarding the unprecedented existential crisis gripping the party, Congress is set to make a technological leap by conducting for the first time its membership drive digitally in place of the traditional paper-based exercise.
The party has decided to adopt the new technological method to enrol members to ensure “authentic membership” and create a “data bank” for round-the-year electoral mobilisation.
While earlier it was felt that digital infusion would be part of a hybrid exercise, it has finally been decided that digital enrolment would completely replace the paper-based process.
An application (app) is being specially created for membership campaign.
Aware of the teething troubles that the transition can attract, Congress would first conduct a pilot project in Goa, Chhattisgarh and some parts of Uttar Pradesh to test the digital membership.
Based on its experience and results, Congress would extend digital drive to the rest of the country.
The campaign is likely to commence in November after the conclusion of assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra.
Crucially, the AICC is learnt to have directed the state units to designate a “capable and suitable” PCC general secretary to look after the enrolment exercise. At the same time, the states have been asked to appoint persons with “digital knowledge” as “Technology and Data Coordinator” who would be tasked with assisting the general secretary mandated to oversee the drive.
AICC general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal told TOI, “The digital membership drive will ensure genuine membership and will also save cost by obviating the need for paper and printing.”
Given the perennial problem of fake membership, sources said three key details would be saved in the app for each member, which would put their credentials beyond reproach.
Each member to be enrolled would have to provide his telephone number, photograph and election identity card. “This cannot be faked and can easily be rechecked,” a senior office-bearer said.
Earlier, the Congress membership would be done by taking down details in “receipt books” (kitaab) without any supporting documents taken as an individual’s proof.
An advantage of enrolling in app would be that it would provide a ready phone number for communication. Earlier, since these details were stored in receipt books and stored in almirahs, they were rarely used to contact members.
Sources said coordinates stored in app would enable the leadership to communicate with each member regularly.
The data collected would be stored at every level – block, assembly and state, while the AICC would have the data of Congress members across the country.

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