In the election season, the Congress will try to steal the Aam Aadmi Party's thunder by going for the world record of a human chain of 10 crore on Martyr's Day.
At 5.30pm on January 30, death anniversary of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, it has asked all state units to be ready to join the record attempt as it begins on countrywide live television from New Delhi with introduction by actor Annu Kapoor.
Grand choir, welcome address, speed painting, and talks by celebrities, including Sachin Tendulkar and Shahrukh Khan, will follow. A minute's silence at 6.35 pm, and at 6.37pm, the people will be guided to form the longest human chain and chant Gandhi's favourite prayer "Raghupati Raghav".
The party's national leaders will then pledge to "tread the path of unity, non-violence, communal harmony and truth" that the Mahatma had shown to the world.
Congress parliamentarian Naveen Jindal's Flag Foundation of India, which is behind the idea, will also generate live feed, event/advertisement content, and audio-visual/press release. The metropolitan and district units begin own programme at 5.30pm and join New Delhi live from 6.10pm by getting volunteers together for the human chain.
State units have been asked taken up the duties of making arrangements for light and sound, projection and screens, local artistes for cultural show, link to the cable-TV network, translation of the pledge in local languages, and media coverage. District party heads have order to keep the event "apolitical and without undertones". The event will be at not the party office but a public place, and all its pictures and press releases will be mailed to Jindal's foundation.
Before concluding, the Congress mail also says the foundation is a "registered body under the stewardship of MP Naveen Jindal to promote nationalism, patriotism, and love for the National Flag; and has installed two monumental flagpoles across the country".
After faux pas, PPCC discovers Martyr's Day
Passing the message to District Congress Committees (DCCs), the party's Punjab unit made a blunder. In a mail to DCC presidents at 5pm on Monday, it wrote: "As per the AICC (All-India Congress Committee) instructions, all district committees are required to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi with full fervor."
Later in the day, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) office sent out a revised mail that the function is to "commemorate the Shaheedi Divas (martyrdom day) of Mahatma Gandhi", again "with full fervor", and that the earlier "typographical error" was regretted.
Asked to explain, Punjab Congress general secretary Gurpratap Mann said the mail typist was new at the job. "We rectified the mistake in no time," he said.
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