In an exercise aimed at rejuvenating the party in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi is expected to address two more rallies in the state before culmination of the first phase of the ongoing Congress Yatra on May 31.
AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh met Gandhi and invited him to address two more rallies before the conclusion of the first phase of the Yatra, a senior party leader said.
The Yatra, to commemorate the 125th year of Congress' foundation, was flagged off by Gandhi from Ambedkar Nagar on April 14, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar. It will culminate on November 10 with a rally of party President Sonia Gandhi at Allahabad.
A review meeting of the Yatra was held in Delhi two days ago in which Digvijay Singh, PCC President Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Secretary in-charge Parvez Hashmi and others participated. The party spokespersons at state and district level along with other office-bearers also attended the meet to devise strategy to involve more people in the Yatra.
The party considers the initiative politically important as the Assembly elections in the state are scheduled for 2012 and the Congress believes it is closer to power in the state now than anytime in the last 20 years.
"Mission 2012 is quite close. This is part of the political process to rejuvenate the party and bring it to power in Lucknow," a senior party leader said, hinting it was actually the beginning of the party's election campaign for the all important assembly polls.
Congress won 22 seats in the May 2009 Lok Sabha elections, its best ever performance in the last 20 years, and party leaders believe it has a bright chance in the polls if the present momentum continues.
Gandhi, an MP from Amethi, has been frequently visiting the state, especially to Dalit households, and making development the most important political agenda for the state.
The Yatras, aimed at rejuvenating the party, will cover every assembly constituency of the state by the time it concludes on November 10.
Party sources maintained that the Yatras are being monitored in Lucknow and Delhi and it will provide an opportunity for the leaders to showcase their organisational skills.
They said the success of the Yatras at various levels and the role of the local Congress leaders would be crucial for selecting the candidates for the assembly elections in the state.