After the recent gangrape of a 23-year old woman in Delhi sparked unprecedented nationwide outrage, the Congress is likely to devote a special session to discuss the burning issue of crime against women at the party's conclave (chintan shivir) later this month at Jaipur.
Party sources indicated that the issue may well come up as the first topic for discussion on January 18, soon after the inaugural function.
Party president Sonia Gandhi emphasized on discussing the issue during a recent internal meeting of the party.
The party had earlier picked "welfare measures and flagship programmes of the government" as the first topic for discussion.
The topic was chosen to extensively discuss the ambitious Direct Benefits Transfer scheme of the UPA-seen as a 'game-changer' and key vote plank by a significant section of the party for the next general election.
Even as the government gears up to amend the criminal laws to make anti-rape provisions more stringent, the Congress wants to utilize the platform of its brainstorming session to signal that is views the issue of crime against women as a major concern.
The two-day conclave, primarily to formulate the strategy for the upcoming assembly polls and the general election, will also discuss issues like alliance, economic situation and its remedies and several organizational challenges.
The Congress president had visited the victim's family in New Delhi's Safdarjung hospital (she, along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also attended her funeral) but she reportedly directed home minister Sushilkumar Shinde to take "immediate, visible and concrete" steps after thousands of youth protesters thronged India Gate and Jantar Mantar demanding justice for the rape victim last month.
After the victim's death, a visibly moved Gandhi pledged action to curb crime against women.