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Beleaguered Congress to focus on aam aadmi at plenary

Smita Gupta

Chief Ministers asked to provide status of flagship schemes

New Delhi: Ahead of their party's plenary later this month, Congress Chief Ministers flew into the capital to participate in a strategy session on the content of three key resolutions around which discussions will take place.

The Chief Ministers, top party sources told The Hindu, were asked to provide details of the status of the United Progressive Alliance's flagship programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for being incorporated into the resolutions.

Clearly, the Congress, devastated by the combined impact of the results of the Bihar Assembly elections, the impasse in Parliament and the slew of scams, needs to energise its cadres, focussing on the welfare of the aam aadmi and stressing the government's successes in the social sector, successes the party believes that brought it back to power in 2009, with an increased mandate.

At Saturday's late evening meeting at the party's war room at 15, Rakabganj Road here, the Chief Ministers invited were Maharashtra's Prithviraj Chavan, Andhra Pradesh's N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot.

The central leaders present included Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel, and Union Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and C.P. Joshi.

This discussion is part of a series of meetings being held urgently to finalise the resolutions on political affairs, the economic situation and foreign policy that will set the tone for the plenary as well as chart the course of the party in the coming months.

Beyond the plenary session, the seven Congress leaders, who met on Saturday, will “monitor” the implementation of the UPA government's flagship schemes to ensure that these are run effectively and reach the targeted beneficiaries and, most importantly, ensure that the Congress — and not the Opposition governments in the States — gets credit for these programmes.

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