Aimed at bolstering the party’s image Senior Congress leaders at a meeting here on Monday said the yatra would give a first-hand account of the prevailing situation in 13 districts of Seemandhra.

As part of plans to bolster the party’s image and enthuse the beleaguered cadre, Congress leaders from Seemandhra are undertaking a week-long bus yatra from March 21, from Srikakulam.

Senior Congress leaders at a meeting here on Monday said the yatra would give a first-hand account of the prevailing situation in 13 districts where the ruling party is seen as a villain for dividing the State. This move comes in the wake of the desertion of more than half a dozen MLAs and MLCs from the Congress in Anantapur, Chittoor and West Godavari districts on Monday alone.

A meeting at the residence of former Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar attended by APCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy, former PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, campaign committee chairman K. Chiranjeevi, manifesto committee chief Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and APCC office-bearers finalised the dates for the bus yatra.

Sources said the yatra was aimed at boosting the sagging morale of the party. The leaders would kick start the campaign from Srikakulam district on March 21 by addressing a convention of workers, followed by a meeting in Vizianagaram.

On March 22, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts would be covered followed by March 23 (West Godavari, Krishna), March 24 (Guntur, Prakasam), March 25 (Nellore, Chittoor), March 26 (Kadapa) and March 27 (Anantapur and Kurnool).

A senior leader said that the idea was to instil confidence among the cadre.

The attempt is to prepare the party workers for the local bodies’ polls and the upcoming general elections.

Sources said the decision to plunge into the campaign mode came after a meeting the AICC general secretary, Digvijay Singh, had with party seniors here last week.

There is all-round disappointment among the cadres with half the MLAs quitting the party, protesting against the bifurcation decision.

While senior leaders are looking for greener pastures, the second and third rung leaders are left to fend for themselves.

The situation is pathetic in over three dozen constituencies where local MLAs have deserted the party. So much so, the newly-appointed APCC chief has been forced to appoint in-charges of certain district units in the last two days.

Later in the night, the leaders met at the house of Rajya Sabha member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and discussed the issue.

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