With an eye on the 2012 assembly polls in UP, the Congress will be holding its two-day state plenary session in Varanasi from Wednesday.
Congress leaders say this was the first state plenary session to be attended by both general secretary Rahul Gandhi and president Sonia Gandhi, though on separate days.
Just after his political battle against the BSP government over the Greater Noida land acquisition issue, Rahul Gandhi will inaugurate on Wednesday the session, likely to be attended by more than 4,000 state and national leaders.
While Rahul Gandhi will address the conclave on Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi will speak at a public rally on Thursday. In her address, Sonia Gandhi is likely to spell out the poll strategy for the party in 2012.
This will be the first convention of the Congress in Varanasi in 106 years.
The Congress, which has been in the wilderness in UP since 1989, bounced back in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, winning 22 of the 80 seats in the state.
However, its candidates could not fare well in assembly bypolls in the state, with even the mother of union minister RPN Singh losing in her home turf in the Gorakhpur region (Kushinagar district).
The media cell chief for the convention, Dharmendra Singh, said, “Many union ministers such as Sriprakash Jaiswal, Jitin Prasad, Pradip Jain, Beni Prasad Verma, RPN Singh and Salman Khurshid will attend the convention. UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, UP Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari and national secretary Parvez Hashmi are camping in Varanasi for the two-day conclave.”
A Congress leader said: “Not only will the blueprint for launching a vigorous political battle for the 2012 polls be finalised in Varanasi, the conclave will also give a clarion call for reviving the party in Purvanchal (east UP) by launching a movement for the development of the backward region of UP.”