Sonia Gandhi put the Congress in election mode on Saturday, giving senior leaders till August 31 to chalk out and implement party strategy for the next round of assembly elections and possible Lok Sabha polls.
Amid heightened speculation about an early general election, the Congress president met with AICC general secretaries and state in-charges for two hours, discussing ways to strengthen the party organisation that has been battered by a string of recent election defeats.
Despite the obvious context, however, there was reportedly no specific mention of elections, the civilian nuclear deal, inflation, or election alliances in the meeting. “These issues may figure in the manthan shivir (introspective exercise) in the third week of July,” a senior leader said. A meeting of the Congress Working Committee too may be called soon.
Polls are due in October in J&K — where the PDP walked out on the Congress on Saturday — and later in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, MP and Delhi. Lok Sabha polls are likely in March-April ’09 but may be held earlier if the Left pulls the plug over the N-deal.
Rahul Gandhi was among the 14 participants. He spoke of the 'talent hunt' he has begun to identify young potential leaders for the party, and said he was restructuring the Youth Congress and NSUI.