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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Cong meet in Jaipur in Jan to chalk out poll agenda

IANS  New Delhi, December 02, 2012
First Published: 20:11 IST(2/12/2012) | Last Updated: 20:28 IST(2/12/2012)

The Congress will hold a brain-storming session in Jaipur Jan 18-20 next year to set the party's political and economic agenda for future challenges ahead of the next general election, party sources said on Sunday.

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Before that, the party's de facto number two, Rahul Gandhi, could be officially named so during the much-awaited All-India Congress Committee reshuffle, said the sources.

Congress sources said the AICC session is expected to bring Rahul Gandhi's ideas centre-stage as he now heads the party's coordination committee for the next Lok Sabha poll.

The 2013 session comes a decade after the last one held in Shimla in 2003, which was followed by the Congress romping back to power in 2004 and forming the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre.

This will be the third AICC session since Sonia Gandhi became Congress chief in 1998 and headed the Pachmarhi session in Madhya Pradesh the same year.

Interestingly, the Congress did not hold any such meet before the 2009 general elections, in which it returned to power with a stronger mandate than 2004.

The 2013 session follows from a grand public rally in Delhi on Nov 4 addressed by top Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A few days later, the party held a dialogue session at Surajkund, near Delhi, to thrash out a road map for the 2014 general election.

While the Nov 9 'samvad baithak' was a small gathering of around 60 people, including senior party leaders and Congress ministers, the Jaipur session will see around 300 senior leaders from all over the country, including state unit heads, MPs, legislators, chief ministers and union cabinet members.

According to party sources, while the first two days of the Jaipur 'chintan shivir' will be spent discussing the political and economic situation, the  final day will be devoted to an AlCC session, where around 1,200 delegates are expected to endorse key ideas that emerge from the brain-storming.

According to party sources, issues like pre-poll alliances, manifesto and government programmes and communications and publicity besides the economic challenges before the country will dominate the deliberations.

Party sources said plans for a 'chintan shivir' were in the pipeline for the past one year but the event could not be organised as the UPA-II was busy  battling the various political crises triggered by a slew of corruption charges against the government.


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