New Delhi: To reach out to the masses ahead of the next general elections due in April-May as envisaged by party vice president Rahul Gandhi, Congress has decided to hold week-long ‘padyatra’ in all Lok Sabha constituencies before the announcement of the poll schedule.

Party sources said the issue figured at today’s meeting of the Congress Campaign Committee chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi.

The party has decided to cover all villages with a population of over 2,000, local markets, haats (weekly bazaars) and town areas.

The idea is to reach out to the maximum number of people through focus group meetings, gram chaupals (village gatherings) and public rallies. The party will also involve dominant community leaders in the exercise.

Congress leaders and workers will cover a distance of 10 to 15 km daily during the seven-day programme.

During the rally, the party will also distribute one page flyers listing the UPA government’s achievements.

A communication has already been sent from the  party’s central leadership to concerned general secretary in-charges of states, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs and others.

During the statewide ‘padyatra’ programme, minimum seven days will be given to cover one block, and on at least five places senior state or central leaders will join the event.

Top leaders will be attending two to four rallies in a state during the programme.

The Congress vice president has already been touring different states to get direct feedback from various stakeholders on the party’s manifesto making exercise.

Since the notification for the polls are expected to be announced in the first or second week of May, the ‘padyatra’ is likely to start within a week, the sources said.

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