M A I N   N E W S

Cong ‘crash course’ for its leaders on reforms today
Anita Katyal/TNS

New Delhi, November 8
Having secured unequivocal support of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for his reform measures, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will explain the rationale behind the UPA government’s recent decisions to the party’s top leaders tomorrow. The move aims at enabling them to dispel misgivings about the adverse impact of these policies.

No official cars

  • Except party chief Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, all others invited for the “samvad baithak” will travel to the venue in air-conditioned coaches. Ministers have been told not to use their official cars
  • The session will last for six hours with no lunch break
  • A working lunch would be served, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said

The Prime Minister will address the party’s concerns at a “samvad baithak” (dialogue session) at Surajkund tomorrow with the express purpose of improving communication between the government and the party in preparation for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The day-long intensive closed-door session will be attended by members of the Congress Working Committee, AICC general secretaries and Congress Union ministers. While the PM will speak on the economic challenges facing the country, Sonia Gandhi’s opening remarks will focus on the current political situation, according to AICC general secretary Janaradan Dwivedi.

In view of the growing public disillusionment with the UPA government on the issues of corruption and price rise, the exercise is meant to put the Congress house in order to meet the crucial electoral challenges ahead.

The brainstorming session comes on the heels of a mega rally organised by the party in the Capital last Sunday to energise its party cadres ahead of the polls and lend political muscles to the UPA government’s economic reforms.

Congress insiders say the “samvad baithak” will take forward the discussion held during the last CWC meeting when several members had expressed unhappiness over the government’s decision to hike diesel prices and put a cap on subsidised LPG cylinders. Several party leaders later wrote to the party president seeking a rollback on the cooking gas issue which, they complained, had been a political setback as it had not been received well by the people.

Although Sonia Gandhi endorsed the PM’s reforms agenda wholeheartedly in her speech at last Sunday’s rally, party cadres are still apprehensive about these policies in the face of a strong Opposition campaign.

The meeting will particularly dwell on the status of the implementation of the party’s manifesto promises as the countdown for elections has begun.





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