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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Congress gears up for critical meet on polls

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times   New Delhi, November 06, 2012
First Published: 23:42 IST(6/11/2012) | Last Updated: 03:01 IST(7/11/2012)

After its show of strength at a mass rally in Delhi on Sunday, the Congress is now gearing up for a crucial samvad baithak (dialogue session) of its top-rung leaders at Surajkund on November 9.

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The first-of-its-kind session is being seen as an attempt by the leadership to put the party on track for the next Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for 2014.

Having to deal with slippery allies within the UPA as well as outside supporters, a section of the Congress strongly feels that the general elections could be advanced. In that context, Friday’s session is a part of preparing for the battle.

Top leaders such as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi would deliberate on the current political and economic situation with working committee members, general secretaries, cabinet ministers and ministers of state with independent charge at the dialogue session.

However, the most important item on the agenda is a discussion on implementation of the 2009 poll manifesto. The party chief is expected to give strict instructions to ministers on implementing of all the programmes mentioned in the document.

At the 83rd plenary of the Congress at Burari, which took place in December 2010, Sonia and Rahul had admonished ministers for working against the interests of the party.

The PM then asked his ministerial colleagues to reserve time for party leaders and workers, and fast-track the development issues raised by them.

The discussion is expected to identify gaps in the manifesto implementation and provide a roadmap for the recently revamped cabinet before the next parliamentary elections. The dialogue session would be followed by a chintan shivir (introspection session) with central as well as state leaders.

The Surajkund meet takes place amid speculation about an impending organisational reshuffle in which Rahul Gandhi is expected to formally assume the party's number two position.


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