Sonia Gandhi has received a new Congress ID card. What’s so special about it?

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From now on, each member of Congress will carry an identity card with a QR code. Authenticity of card and membership can be verified from a central management database by scanning the QR code. Gone are the days when one could claim to be a Principal Member of Congress by displaying a dues payment receipt for Principal Membership.

For the first time in its history, Congress has embarked on a digital membership campaign aimed not only at expanding the organizational structure but, more importantly, at building a strong electorate for the party’s internal electoral process. The campaign ended on April 15 on the eve of the start of the Congress organizing elections, which are expected to conclude in the coming months. By September 20, Congress will elect a new president.

Sonia Gandhi’s new Congress ID card with a QR code

While the Congress has been in existence for 135 years, the party has never kept records of its members at any stage – central, state or district. Main members receive a receipt against payment of the membership fee. This has often made verifying who is eligible to vote in organizational polls a Herculean task. This is the reason why the Congress Working Committee (CWC) decided earlier to launch the digital membership campaign in addition to the standard paper membership process for the period between 2022 and 2027.

Digital training has become important because apart from registering members through the online mode, the process has also involved verifying existing members. Every member of Congress – from National President Sonia Gandhi to a rank-and-file worker – was given a unique ID card with a QR code, much like the Aadhaar number. Each member’s records are now centrally managed, and scanning the QR code can verify the authenticity of each member. The campaign started on November 1, 2021, and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was the first member to receive such an ID card. The campaign ended on April 15 with Sonia Gandhi receiving her card from the AICC Secretary General in charge of the KC Venugopal organization.

The mammoth exercise was conducted under the leadership of Praveen Chakravarty, Chairman of AICC’s Data Analytics Department. Through the digital membership campaign, Congress has so far added 26 million members across all booths across all assembly segments. They are verified members, signed up to the party by a designated recruiter using a proprietary mobile phone application called the Congress Membership App. A network of more than 500,000 party-approved recruiters went door-to-door recruiting members across the country.

“Since we started the campaign, the focus has been on the quality of members and not just the quantity. Each member is verified on three levels: voter card, photo and telephone number. Access to the reader is strictly controlled and only verified registrants can use the membership app,” says Chakravarty.

In previous organizational elections, the party’s Central Election Authority (CEA) prepared and maintained a register of those eligible to vote in internal polls. Scanning documents has made the process easier and faster. “For the first time, Congress has developed a transparent membership process to store the records of every verified member. Our membership is not based on an arbitrary ‘missed call’ process. We have verified members and c This is why we will also be able to organize appropriate organizational surveys,” says Chakravarty.

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