Congress disappointed by absence of Rahul in UPCC session

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Kanpur, Mar 30 (UNI) Congressmen here at UP Congress Committee (UPCC) general body meeting and open session were today disappointed a lot at the absence of party's general secretary and young MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul was slated to attend the inaugural session of two day-conclave but the party sources at the venue said he would now be coming tomorrow along with AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

A host of senior Congress leaders like former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and in-charge of UP affairs Digvijay Singh, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal, UPCC President Reeta Bahuguna Joshi, Salman Khurshid, UP CLP leader Pramod Tiwari, Mohsina Kidwai and Rajiv Shukla were already present on the occasion which would virtually trigger off the party's Lok Sabha poll campaign in largest state in the country which sends 80 members to the lower house of Parliament.

The important meeting, to be attended by senior Congress leaders, is likely to clarify the party's clear cut stand on its closeness with either of the two-the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) and the Samajwadi Party.

During recent political development in UP, SP leaders and some extent BSP leadership had shown their closeness with the Congress.

UPCC, which is holding the open session and general body meeting in the state after a gap of 26 years, will certainly give the leaders a platform to clarify the party's stand on the SP-BSP issue, a senior party official said.

The two day meeting, to conclude with a public rally to be addressed by Sonia Gandhi tomorrow, will project the political strategy of the Congress for the coming Lok Sabha polls in the state.

The main objective of the meeting would be to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, said UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi here.

Rahul was expected to chair the important meeting of the members of the state coordination committee, MPs and legislators to discuss over names of the candidates for the LS polls.

''The open session would be historic of its kind, as it is being held after 26 years besides being held on the backdrop of the people oriented central budget and completion of 10 years of political career of Ms Gandhi,'' Ms Joshi said.

The last open session and general body meeting of the UPCC was held in Kanpur itself in 1982.

UNI MB/SB USS KK RK1351

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