The Congress has virtually shifted into the election mode by chalking out a 90-day-long mass contact programme aimed at retaining and consolidating its traditional votebank among the weaker sections.

The schedule was finalised at a two-hour-long meeting that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy had with 16 of his ministerial colleagues on Wednesday where the focus was primarily on evolving a strategy for winning the local and urban bodies’ elections.

Strong pitch

Mr. Kiran Reddy made a strong pitch to go all-out to woo the weaker sections and focus the government’s energies on highlighting its various welfare programmes. Realising the fact that the benefits of SC/ST Sub-Plan has not percolated down to the grassroots level, an extensive awareness campaign has been chalked out from April 5 to 14 to coincide with the birth anniversaries of Babu Jagjivan Ram and Babasaheb Ambedkar. The campaign includes visits to SC/ST colonies and enlighten the weaker sections on the benefits of the Sub-Plan. The move is aimed at holding the votebank intact, a senior leader said.

There was total unanimity among the Ministers that the party should face the gram panchayat elections immediately after the budget session. The next phase of the mass contact programme, Rachabanda, would be conducted after the conclusion of the gram panchayat polls.

The much-publicised scheme for distribution of nine essential commodities to the white card holders at concessional rates would be launched on April 11 (Ugadi) at Ravindra Bharati and implemented in all mandals from April 15. Rythu Chaitanya Yatras would commence on April 21 and last till May 8.

Meanwhile, the second session of the Assembly is likely to resume from May third week and conclude in June first week. It may last 8-10 working days while the departmentally-related Standing Committees would hold their sittings from April 25 to May 10.