Cong brainstorming meet today, PM to show roadmap

With barely one-and-a-half years left to get its acts together before the next general elections, top functionaries of the Congress and the government will meet in Surajkund in Haryana to discuss the political and economic roadmap for the party at a daylong brainstorming session called "samvad baithak" on Friday.

In what is obviously an attempt to put up a show of simplicity and solidarity, ministers and party functionaries will be travelling in a bus to the venue.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is set to spell out his roadmap for the remainder of his term in office and dispel misgivings about the steps already taken like FDI in retail sector. He would seek to convince and prepare the party for some tough measures that the government plans to unveil in near future to bring the country back on high growth trajectory. Finance Minister P Chidambaram will follow him up, initiating the debate on the economic challenges facing the country and outline his roadmap for the future. The PM is likely to stress the need to engage with opposition parties ahead of the winter session of Parliament to avoid disruptions. The PM is also likely to make a pitch for FDI in insurance and other reforms.

While the "samvad baithak" (dialogue session) will start with the opening remarks of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the political situation, it's the debate on the economic situation that assumes significance as it would reflect and define the party's stand on crucial issues like petroleum and fertilisers subsidies.

"There will be a discussion on the implementation of our manifesto to take stock of what has been achieved and what more needs to be done. There are certain limitations in a coalition government but being the largest party, it becomes the responsibility of the Congress to evaluate the implementation of our promises to the people," AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said on Thursday. The dialogue session is likely to be attended by 35 members, including permanent invitees of the Congress Working Committee and 35 ministers both Cabinet ministers and ministers of state with Independent charge.

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