Financial support is learnt to have been a key subject of discussion in the meetings held by the AICC with select state units. Top party managers met with Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Punjab leaders separately last month. They included all the ministers in these state governments and some organisational members.
While it was generally believed that the meetings focussed on organisational matters like nomination of state presidents, it is now learnt that a big part of the interactions was finance. The participants were briefed about the fund situation and asked to take ownership of the party finances. Organisational issues were also discussed.
“Finances have been a focus area during recent meetings,” an AICC leader said.
Of immediate concern for the Congress is the upcoming assembly elections in five states — Kerala, Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. A senior office-bearer said that the current batch of polls is bound to test the party’s management strength which has necessitated the calls to state functionaries for help.
At the same time, the new Congress headquarters in the capital is another subject playing on the party’s mind. The office building is under construction for sometime now.
Fund mobilisation has become difficult for the grand old party since its fall from power post-UPA which has been followed by a steady erosion in its political muscle nationally in contrast to the BJP’s rapid rise across states. Congress now has governments in only Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh while it is tottering on the brink in the pollbound Puducherry. Though it is part of ruling coalitions in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, the focus here is mostly on the lead players in the alliances like Shiv Sena, NCP and JMM.
It is an established fact that ability to generate political funding from private donors depends largely on a party’s political strength and resilience. The Congress, it is learnt, also plans to ask its elected representatives across the country for contributions. While it may be a special call, it could also be linked to the pending contributions that MPs and MLAs make to the party coffers annually as part of an institutionalised mechanism.