Get ready for Lok Sabha polls, says Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi, Jun 28: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday, June 28 asked party leaders to get ready to face Lok Sabha and assembly elections by launching rallies and awareness campaigns.

Addressing a meeting of AICC General Secretaries and CWC members in charge of state party units, Ms Gandhi said a ''chintan shivir'' (brain storming session) would be held by the end of July for the purpose. Briefing reporters on the meeting, which lasted about 75 minutes, AICC Media Department Chairman M Veerappa Moily and AICC General Secretary N Janardhan Dwivedi said the preparations had nothing to do with the situation arising from the logjam over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Congress-led UPA government had entered the last year of its mandate and every political party normally went on the poll mode at this time, they contended.

In fact, the nuclear deal issue did not figure at the meeting, they said.

Ms Gandhi asked the state units to form manifesto, district coordination and other committees so that the party would establish connectivity with the grassroots workers as part of the preparations for the elections.

While the Lok Sabha polls are due in April 2009, assembly elections would be held in October/November in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The brain-storming session, which would be attended by state party presidents, legislature party leaders and central office bearers, including AICC and CWC members, was likely to be held in Delhi or its neighbourhood, Mr Dwivedi said.

To begin with, state party units would hold rallies at all levels to create awareness over the Rs 72,000 crore farmers' debt waiver scheme and the programme for the resettlement of tribals living in forest areas.

Today's meeting was attended by all AICC office bearers and CWC members in charge of state units, except Ms Margaret Alva, Mr Digvijay Singh and Mr R K Dhawan who were on tour.

Asked about the nuclear deal, Mr Moily clarified that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not taking any decision independent of the party.


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