Seeking to send out a message of austerity, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Friday took a bus ride along with other leaders to Surajkund in Haryana where the party is having a brainstorming session.

However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not take the bus to Surajkund due to security reasons.

Union Ministers and top Congress leaders will attend the “Samvad Bhaitak”, which comes at a time when the party and the government are facing tough challenges on political and economic fronts.

The daylong “dialogue session” is likely to chalk out the strategy ahead. It may also take a view on the issue of alliances in different States.

The Congress has utilised bus rides by local leaders to project a picture of unity and to connect with the common man during State elections in the past.

Party sources said that the session will virtually set the agenda for the larger brainstorming, “Chintan Shivir”, which is likely to be organised in January 2013.

The session comes after a public meeting in New Delhi on November 4, 2012 which saw Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi strongly backing the economic reform measures initiated by the Prime Minister.

The session will discuss three topics — present political situation, economic challenges and status of implementation of 2009 party manifesto.

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