PM, Sonia Gandhi to push reforms agenda at Congress' mega rally today

New Delhi: Faced with all-round attack, the Congress is expected to launch its counter-offensive at a rally in Delhi today in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi would be the star speakers.

The rally is also expected to set the agenda for the party's one-day brainstorming session at Surajkund on November 9 in which it plans to discuss current political and economic situation as well as review the implementation of programmes promised in the party manifesto.

Being held at the Ramlila ground, the Congress is putting out all the stops to make it a success amid indications that partymen from several states, especially the neighbouring ones, would come in large number.

The rally is expected to give a message to party workers down the line as it will be attended also by district and block presidents from all over the country besides ministers at the Centre and states, MPs and MLAs and party's central and state office-bearers.

Party leaders are expected to make a scathing attack on the Opposition and detractors of Congress as the rally is being held at a time when Sonia and Rahul have been targeted by Subramanian Swamy, BJP and activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal on various issues.

With the rally being held ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat, party leaders could also take potshots at Narendra Modi seeking to corner the BJP on the issue of communalism.

Congress chief ministers could also utilise the occasion to make a strong pitch for FDI in retail, an issue on which the Opposition is planning to make a common cause in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning November 22.

Plans are also afoot to hold rallies at the state level. The rally is being held after the recent reshuffle of the Union council of ministers, which saw the induction of a number of young faces.

Congress spokesperson PC Chacko said today's rally is going to be "first among a series of programmes" to be launched by the party to apprise the people of the ratioinale behind the government's decision on economic reforms.

He said Congress is not happy about the rise in price of LPG and putting a cap on the supply of subsidized cylinders but "we had no alternative but to increase the prices. We have to tell the people that. We have to tell them about many of the welfare measures taken by the government.