NEW DELHI, March 23 � Encouraged by the response he received in the State, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi are likely to kick off the election campaign from Assam.
Rahul Gandhi will begin his election campaign by addressing a rally in Dibrugarh on March 27. Sonia Gandhi will address her first rally in Lakhimpur on March 28. Dr Manmohan Singh will address his first election rally in Tezpur on March 29.
Faced with defections to rival camps, rebellion within the ranks and lukewarm response to its rallies in the rest of the country, the AICC has zeroed in on Assam, considered a safe State for its president to start her campaign.
Sonia Gandhi would address a series of rallies across the country ahead of the polls in nine phases, beginning with Assam.
It may be recalled that Rahul Gandhi during his two-day tour received overwhelming response from party workers and people, enthusing him.
Meanwhile, even as AICC is in the midst of finalising the election schedule, Union Minister of State and Lakhimpur candidate Ranee Narah has rushed to Delhi to meet senior Congress leaders. Along with Ranee Narah, Tezpur candidate Bhupen Bora and Himanta Biswa Sarma has been summoned to New Delhi to attend the national campaign committee meeting of AICC as they are its members.
Sources said Ranee Narah, who is facing rebellion from the Congress MLAs, has reportedly come to plead with AICC leaders to send a strong message to the eight disgruntled MLAs, who are not cooperating with her, thus leaving her in the lurch.
Bhupen Bora also faces trouble from former MP and controversial lottery baron Mani Kumar Subba, who has filed nomination as an Independent candidate. The party is exploring ways to pressurise the rebel to withdraw his nomination, said sources.
Sources said that according to a latest internal survey of the Congress party, which was conducted by an organisation of international repute, Assam is among the few States where the Congress party is expected to do well. According to the survey report, the Congress party has been given anywhere between seven to nine seats, the AIUDF and AGP one each and BJP two seats, down from four seats it won in 2009, sources confided.