Cong top brass meet to discuss strategy for Lok Sabha polls

Congress

of early Lok Sabha elections.

Party sources said the dialogue meeting (Samvad Baithak) will virtually set the agenda for the larger brainstorming at Chintan Shivir, which is likely to be organised in January.

The dialogue session comes after the public meeting here on November 4, which saw Sonia and Rahul strongly backing the economic reform measures initiated by Prime Minister Singh.

Dwivedi said a total of 70 leaders including 23 Cabinet ministers, 12 ministers of state (independent charge), 19 members of Congress Working Committee and 16 permanent invitees to the CWC will be attending the deliberations.

Interestingly, party chief ministers have not been invited for the session with the AICC saying they along with the PCC chiefs will be called for the Chintan Shivir.

The meeting is not going to pass any resolution as it has been called for greater interaction between the party and the government on the challenges ahead, Dwivedi said.

The UPA-I had not witnessed any such "dialogue meeting" and before the Congress came to power, the party had held two brainstorming sessions.

The first such session was held at Pachmarhi in 1998 soon after Sonia Gandhi took the reins of the organisation from Sitaram Kesri and the next in 2003 at Shimla shortly before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

While the line at Pachmarhi was that coalition is a transient phase in Indian politics, the one at Shimla was unity of secular forces, which helped Congress come to power for the first time via the coalition route in 2004 by ousting BJP-led NDA.

After securing more than 200 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and improving its tally substantially, Congress has failed to make a mark in some key assembly elections including in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. The meeting comes ahead of the assembly polls in Gujarat where Narendra Modi is seeking a third term.

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