In his bid to fix accountability, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has initiated a monthly performance review of the party’s central office bearers, two Congress leaders familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Functionaries at different levels – general secretaries, leaders in charge of states, and secretaries – will have to fill up a two-page self-appraisal form on the 10th of every month to enable Gandhi to measure their performance, said one of the two leaders.
He said the forms will be submitted to the general secretary in charge of training and organisation, Ashok Gehlot, who will then give his inputs and forward the forms to the Congress president by the 15th of every month.
This is not the first time Gandhi has attempted a corporate-style appraisal system in the 132-year-old party.
Nearly a year before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, all the state chiefs were asked to conduct a self-evaluation and assessment exercise on their worthiness and capabilities.
In the appraisal forms, the office bearers have to mention the number of times they visited the state under their charge. They will also have to declare the number of meetings they addressed in different blocks and districts and give the figure of block and district committees formed that particular month.
In case these committees have not been set up, they have to specify reasons.
Apart from spelling out the leadership development initiatives undertaken by them, they also have to indicate the steps taken to resolve disputes, and provide details of training programmes and the election preparedness of the party in their respective states. The forms also require them to mention the steps taken to expand the Congress’ presence in social media, influence people outside the party, media outreach efforts, and details of door-to-door campaigns and rallies on people’s issues.
“The idea is to fix the accountability and make the party organisation more responsive,” the second leader said. “It will also determine whether an office bearer continues in office or needs to be replaced.”
As general secretary in charge of the Youth Congress, Gandhi had in 2012 introduced a ranking system in the organisation to identify performing and non-performing functionaries. While active and performing office bearers were given a green rank, yellow was assigned to active but non-performing members, and red to inactive non-performers.
Political observers said performance reviews are a critical element in organization building, especially when the Lok Sabha elections are approaching.
“Continuous evaluation of performance becomes necessary as the deadline for elections comes closer,” said New Delhi-based political analyst Balveer Arora.
“Monitoring of performance at different levels and of different party functionaries who are given responsibilities of states and regions becomes crucial in strengthening the organisation.”