Beaches, bikinis, beer and bearded Akali jathedars. This heady cocktail will be served in Goa, where Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, accompanied by their BJP counterparts, are set to do "chintan" (introspection) for the people of Punjab.
It will be at the "romantic and charming" luxury hotels Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada and Vivanta by Taj Holiday Village - perched on the Aguada beach cliff in north Goa, that the politicians will do "soul-searching" for four days, beginning on Sunday.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD president, who is behind this spirited move of holding brainstorming sessions around India's best beaches instead of gurdwaras, has thrown a cloak of secrecy around the itinerary. The conclave is out of bounds for the media, leading to speculation about the SAD-BJP leadership's "fears and insecurity" for holding the 'chintan shivir' in a hush-hush manner.
The young delegates the most excited lot among the nearly 120 leaders were keeping their fingers crossed as till Friday evening, the overcautious SAD leadership had neither revealed to its leaders the names of hotels where the conclave would be held nor how they would be taken to Goa.
The SAD insiders said more than 40 SAD-BJP leaders, including women MLAs, aged male MLAs and senior ministers, would board private airlines from Chandigarh, while the rest will catch direct flights from Delhi. All SAD legislators and even those who lost in the 2012 assembly elections would go to the popular tourist destination for the conclave.
The SAD chief has also invited MLAs of its coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). All BJP candidates who lost the last elections, too, will be members of the touring party. State BJP president Kamal Sharma and national general secretary Ajay Jamwal, and SAD leaders such as Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, advisor to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, are among the invitees as well, apart from the nine Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs.
SAD sources said two sessions would be held on April 8. The ministers would present their respective report cards, followed by a Q&A session open to all delegates. On April 9, the session will be devoted to formulating a strategy for the next Lok Sabha elections.
"The focus of this conclave will be on reviewing the government's performance and the party's expectations. The 'shivir' is aimed at giving an opportunity to the party to take stock of the government's achievements and shortcomings," a senior SAD leader said.
After the "food for thought", the four-day affair will culminate with a voyage in the Arabian Sea, where the brigade of Sukhbir Badal and Chunni Lal Bhagat, away from the media's prying eyes, will get a chance to unwind on a ship under the stars.