Congress’ rule of being a teetotaller and using khadi triggered a discussion in the AICC meeting on Tuesday, where a majority agreed that there should be an amendment to reflect the evolving times.
The party’s old-time rules left some red faces at the meeting. According to a report in The Times of India, a participant raised the issue by asking why should the membership start with a “lie”. This came after Rahul Gandhi remarked that the party form should reflect the changing times while being practical.
One which, Punjab Congress president Navjot Sidhu apparently remarked that Punjab drinks as much alcohol in a day as the water in a lake. Rahul followed it up with a pointed question – ‘Who all drinks here?’ NDTV quoted sources saying that members looked embarrassed, while Sidhu responded, “Most people in my state drink.”
Reportedly, rules like this can only be changed by the Working Committee of the party—the highest decision-making body of the party. And the no drinking rule dates back from the days of Mahatma Gandhi which still remains intact in the books. In 2007, Rahul Gandhi had questioned the relevance and practical aspect of this rule.
However, ahead of the next round of polls, the rule has made its way in the fresh membership forms for the party’s membership drive due to begin on November 1. It lists 10 points as personal declarations by people wanting to be members- abstention from alcohol and drugs is one of the points. New members also have to give an undertaking to never criticize the party’s policies and programs in public forums.