To counter the large turnout at the rallies of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the Congress high-command has asked Punjab Congress to ensure a large turnout for All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rally in Sangrur on October 10.
Obeying the 'order', the state leadership has arranged an additional 20 acres from a farmer adjoining the rally site.
The target is to ensure that a gathering of 50,000 attends the rally, Rahul's first since the 2012 assembly elections. He did visit Punjab thrice during this period.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Partap Singh Bajwa is personally overseeing the arrangements.
The rally, sources in the Congress said, will set the tone for next year's Lok Sabha polls and offers a platform to Bajwa to showcase his work since taking over the post.
Rahul, along with minister for health Ghulam Nabi Azad, will lay the foundation stone of a
500-bed satellite centre of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) cum cancer hospital in Sangrur.
Local MP Vijayinder Singla and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal also visited the site.
Sources said that Bajwa has instructed leaders in Bathinda, Patiala, Faridkot and Ludhiana to ensure a good turnout. Leaders from far-off locations like Amritsar and Tarn Taran have been asked to bring at least 100 people with them.
To ensure that the Congress leaders get their time and space on stage, two separate platforms would be set up. Bajwa and central leaders would share the stage. MLAs and other prominent leaders will remain on the other stage.
"It is Bajwa's first major political rally as state Congress chief and he wants it to be a memorable show of strength," a Congress leader said.