The 129-year-old Indian National Congress began a new and historic chapter after it instituted primary elections to select Lok Sabha candidates for the first time. Voting has already been held in two constituencies, and the path-breaking American-style process is expected to cover another 13 constituencies over the next month.
“This is a new and exciting experience for our members,” said longtime Congress Seva Dal member Ramkant Das. “Many of us were too terrified to go out and vote in the 2013 state elections for fear of being lynched by an irate public. The internal elections provide a safe and secure environment for Congresspersons to cast their vote.”
Party General Secretary and MP from New Delhi Ajay Maken won widespread praise for volunteering his constituency for a primary. “I know there are risks for established party members of letting in new voices,” he said. “But I want to experience the high of victory one last time.”
“The Congress party remains an agile and forward-thinking party,” said party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a letter to party workers. “Whatever the results of the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll, you can be confident that your party will sweep the primary elections.”