ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Grass Roots.

Editorial from Volume IX, No 36, September 7, 1957.

Two clear, though contradictory, inferences can be drawn from the deliberations of the All-India Congress Committee. AICC members, though not necessarily the rank and file of the Congress, have become more conscious of the need for democratising the structural basis of the organisation. To be fair to the Working Committee, it is not, under the guidance of Shri U N Dhebar, the Congress President, opposed to devolution of power and responsibility. But it seems determined to maintain rigid control at the topmost, apex level. On the plea of homogeneity Shri Mahavir Tyagi’s proposal for election of ten out of 21 members of the Working Committee by AICC has been rejected. But the proposed amendments to the official resolutions indicate the growing unwillingness of AICC members to function as the Working Committee’s yes-men. Though Pandit Nehru lent his weight and support to the present system of nomination of Working Committee members by the President, he conceded the essence of Shri Tyagi’s proposal by emphasising that the same old members should not be nominated by the President year after year.

Desire of the general members of AICC for more representation in the highest executive body of the Congress is not undemocratic. Far more significant is the widespread hostility of the members in general to the system of perpetuating power and control in the hands of a few, dominant, old members of the Congress. All the changes, except one, in the Constitution of the Congress reflect this basic trend. Even as AICC’s general members resent concentration of authority in the Working Committee by the same old leaders, the Party is hostile to the growing power of the State. This latter trend is reflected in the proposal, withdrawn later, to limit the number of Ministers among the members of the Central Parliamentary Board and the Central Election Committee. Rivalry between the parliamentary and organisational wings of the Congress is no less evident from the acceptance of the amended resolution that members of legislative bodies should continue to be full-fledged, and not only associate, members of the Congress committees at the various levels.

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