Cash crunch? Cong raises membership fee by 250 times and 75% of it goes to central leadership

The political drubbing that India's Grand Old Party has been facing over the last year is not the only problem facing the Gandhis. Along with a fast decreasing morale among party workers, the party is reportedly staring at a financial crisis so massive, that it has decided to hike its membership fee 250 times.

FP Politics February 23, 2015 17:37:00 IST
Cash crunch? Cong raises membership fee by 250 times and 75% of it goes to central leadership

The political drubbing that India's Grand Old Party has been facing over the last year is not the only problem that the Gandhis have to fret over. Along with a fast decreasing morale among party workers, Congress is reportedly staring at a financial crisis so massive, that it has decided to hike its membership fee 250 times.

Cash crunch Cong raises membership fee by 250 times and 75 of it goes to central leadership

The party headquarters in New Delhi. AFP

In his letter to frontal organisations of the party including the Congress Working Committee and the Pradesh Congress Committees, party treasurer Motilal Vora has urged members to contribute annually to the party coffers an amount of Rs 250. Till last year, the amount was Rs 5 for five years.

Moreover, 75 percent of the amount contributed will be sent to the central organisation as opposed to the earlier process where a majority of the fund would remain with the state-level organisations.

Vora's reasoning has been "to simplify the procedure and make it more convenient for members to remember easily" to pay up, the fact is the party has been in a financial mess ever since the Lok Sabha polls.

According to data released by the Election Commission, the BJP spent Rs 714 crore while the Congress spent Rs 516 crore, a good Rs 200 crore less. Further the BJP spent Rs 60 crore just on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 3D campaign with Rs 304 crore on other audio-visual media campaigns.

Before going to polls, in an expenditure report filed before the Election Commission, the Congress claimed it had had about Rs 568 crore in cash, cheque and fixed deposits. So bad were the party's coffers that, according to The Hindustan Times, it even had to take an overdraft from a bank, the amount of which Congress leaders pegged at around Rs 300 crore.

The Hindustan Times further reported that in the Lok Sabha polls, the party could not even fund several of its candidates. "This time, there was fund crunch so we had to spend tactically. We evaluated the chances of each candidate and then decided on the fund allotment,” a Congress leader told HT ahead of the Lok Sabha polls."

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